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This book takes place in 1911-1915 but is so full of 21st century cliches it was almost impossible to listen to. The main character's emotions are "a perfect storm," she would do something "in a heartbeat," she "didn't see that one coming!" etc, etc. I found myself saying aloud "Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo" so many times. Plus, overall the writing is clumsy with consistently awkward sentence construction--"she felt fear in her heart" instead of "she was afraid"--- and the only reason I finished it is that the characters-- Picasso, his lovers, and the other artists of that time---are of great interest to me. There are so many excellent historical novels out there, give this one a pass.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
Factually-based, historical novel about the relationship between Pablo Picasso and a young French woman, Eva Gouel. They met and fell in love during the period 1911 and 1914. The story was a little repetitive, but for those who like historical fiction it provided an excellent description of Paris life in the early 20th century. The narrator did a terrific job with the various accents and characters.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
My main problem with this book was the interpretation of some of the characters and the narration, the latter impacting adversely on the former.
Whilst I understand that the book is written in English and narrated by an American, I found it difficult to understand why the only character narrated with an accent was Picasso, and that the accent used was a deep, extremely off-putting Russian accent. If the narrator is unable to do a Spanish accent,a Russian one will not do as a substitute. Furthermore the two characters who were Polish, in whom a Slavic accent may have been forgivable were narrated with an American accent. Liberties were also taken with Picasso's character, particularly around the story-line involving Louis having struck Eva, and Picasso's disgust and fury. Picasso himself was known to have been violent towards women, Fernande in particular.
As well as this, Fernande seemed to be presented as a drawling, sarcastic Southern Belle, which was unfair and not at all representative of how she was.
Similarly, there is much literature that gives a clear picture of the characters of Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas which the writer seems to have entirely ignored.
All in all I quite enjoyed the book, but it's a shame the writer and/or the narrator seemed to have little understanding of Europeans and seemed to have failed to capture the true characters of many of the key players.