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The Vanishing Point by Andrea Hotere

The Vanishing Point is Andrea Hotere’s debut novel about a mysterious painting and the secrets it keeps. It is the story of two women connected across centuries by a quest to discover the truth. The painting is Diego Velazquez’s Las Meninas – one of the most written about paintings of all time.

Set against the backdrop of London in 1991 and Madrid in 1656 the novel follows the lives of two women, Alex Johns and the Infanta Margarita, who are connected by a quest to unravel the enigmatic secrets within an iconic painting.

Alex, an art intern, is haunted by her mother’s mysterious death while investigating the painting’s secrets. As she delves deeper in the art world, church and the intrigues of the 17th century Spanish court, she embarks on a journey filled with cryptic notes, letters and drawings that gradually unveil the mysteries hidden within King Philip’s court.

Meanwhile, in Madrid, the Infanta Margarita senses an ominous aura surrounding her royal family, as her father, the King, and the Queen grapple with personal distress. She fights to shape her own future, despite the relentless attempts to marry her off and separate her from the home she loves.

The Vanishing Point is a mesmerising exploration of art’s power to connect lives across time.

I was captivated by the novel’s intricate tapestry of history, art and mystery.

“I was intrigued by the painting and wanted to find out about the people depicted within it and why it came to be the way it is. Something about the work itself made me feel there was more to be discovered… it gives this sense of a potent moment,” she said, when asked what inspired her to write a novel based around the famous painting.

Andrea skilfully navigates the complexity of these parallel narratives, drawing readers into a world of suspense and uncertainty. As the novel progresses, the secrets concealed within the painting come to light, revealing a centuries old, closely guarded story. But will Alex live to share them with the art world? Is she, too, cursed?

Andrea Hotere has worked as a historical researcher, journalist and TV producer. She lives in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, with her family.

Reviewer: Andrea Molloy Ultimo Press


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