Conceived while his larger-than-life father, Bear Bavinsky, cavorted around Rome in the 1950s, the young Pinch learns that his father's genius trumps everything else. After Bear abandons his family, Pinch strives to make himself worthy-first as a painter, and then as his father's biographer, before settling, disillusioned, into a job teaching Italian in London.
And when Bear dies, Pinch hatches a scheme to secure his father's legacy.
What makes an artist? With his signature compassion and humour, Tom Rachman conjures a life lived in the shadow of greatness. The Italian Teacher is a masterly novel about a son striving to make his own mark on the world.