Paris, 1927, a day in July. A destitute young American named Rafaela Fano gets into the car of a dazzling stranger, the Art Deco painter Tamara de Lempicka. Struggling to halt a downward slide toward prostitution, Rafaela agrees to model for the artist. The two become lovers, and Rafaela inspires Tamara’s most accomplished and prized works of art, including Beautiful Rafaela, “one of the most important nudes of the 20th century” (New York Times).
The relationship between the artist and her muse lasted less than a year, yet in 1980, just before Tamara died, she was working on a copy of Beautiful Rafaela. Author Ellis Avery imagines their affair from Rafaela’s point of view, and the final day of Tamara’s life from the painter’s point of view. A window into Jazz Age Paris as the forces of history close in, The Last Nude is a story of genius and craft, art and money, friendship and desire.
“As erotic and powerful as the paintings that inspired it.” (Emma Donoghue, author of Room)
“Seductive...intelligent...smoking hot.” (Emily Barton, author of Brookland)
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a beautiful listen
A Good Read
Maybe in a few years because of its poetic writing and strong narration.
The narration hooked and held me in. The story's protagonist, Rafaela, is a complex and sympathetic character. While I wanted the best for her, she enters into what looks like doomed romance. I kept listening to find out what would happen to her. Would she find true love or end up with a broken heart?
The story itself, while very good, is not excellent. The villains are a little too campy for my taste. Rafaela (the protagonist) and the audiobook narrators do an excellent job holding the story together. Ellis Avery (the author) has a gift for descriptive writing.
The narration is what sucked me in. Brilliantly done.
I wouldn't quite call the book a