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Publisher's Summary

Instantly recognizable, Auguste Renoir's masterpiece depicts a gathering of his real friends enjoying a summer Sunday on a café terrace along the Seine near Paris. A wealthy painter, an art collector, an Italian journalist, a war hero, a celebrated actress, and Renoir's future wife, among others, share this moment of la vie moderne, a time when social constraints were loosening and Paris was healing after the Franco-Prussian War. Parisians were bursting with a desire for pleasure and a yearning to create something extraordinary out of life. Renoir shared these urges and took on this most challenging project at a time of personal crises in art and love, all the while facing issues of loyalty and the diverging styles that were tearing apart the Impressionist group. Narrated by Renoir and seven of the models, and using settings in Paris and on the Seine, Vreeland illuminates the gusto, hedonism, and art of the era. With a gorgeous palette of vibrant, captivating characters, she paints their lives, loves, losses, and triumphs in a brilliant portrait of her own.
©2007 Susan Vreeland; (P)2007 Penguin Audio, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc., and Books on Tape. All rights reserved.
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Critic Reviews

"A carefully constructed historical novel." (Booklist)
"Vivid....Vreeland achieves a detailed and surprising group portrait, individualized and immediate." (Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Keith on 09-16-07

Well Worth the Time

Entirely enthralling historical novel about Renoir, his famous painting and the lives of each of the models who posed for "Luncheon of the Boating Party". By the end of the book you care for each of the characters and hope the story will never end. An entertaining insight into the "modern life" of impressionistic-era France, this well-researched tale will leave you wanting more. Do yourself a favor and carry a copy of the painting with you when you listen, so you can identify each model and follow the references Vreeland makes to the landscape, still life and mysterious 14th figure within the painting.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Barry Feinstein on 06-27-07

great book- great narrator

Great audio book-- in part because Karen White, the narrator is so perfect for this book. This book brings alive Paris in the 1880's still recovering from the Prussian war. It had great detail intertwined with a great love story. Overall, a great audio book. The listener needs an appreciation of Impressionist art to get the full benefit from it, however.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Lynn on 07-26-09

Good story but poor narration

A good story and decent history of the impressionists. However, the narrator murders the French words and names in the story ...her accent is deplorable or, rather, nonexistent. I found this terribly grating!

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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