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Life Studies : Stories Hardcover – Bargain Price, December 16, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
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From Bookmarks Magazine
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
In general, I found this book absorbing and vivid, but educated and relatively free from sentimentality. She is able to change voices well from character to character, but not so abruptly and obviously that the book loses fluidity. These chapters, each dedicated to a human life affected by a particular work of art, were saturated with reality and living detail. Really beautifully done; I was sorry to see it end.
Beginning in France in 1876, we are introduced to Renoir, Claude Monet, Edouard Manet, Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Cezanne and Modigliani. In "Winter of Abandon", Claude Monet's wife dies, his children and those of his mistress stranded in the harsh winter, understanding that the lady must reclaim her family name at the thaw of spring. Meanwhile they cling to a world isolated from reality. The days are difficult for the wet nurse of the baby of Berthe and Eugene Manet ("Cradle Song") and her own child dies while she lives with the couple. Completely unaware of the heartbreak of the servant's life, the couple fixates on their own obsessions, including Berthe's attraction to her brother-in-law, Edouard Manet. And in "Olympia's Look", Suzanne Manet, widow of Edouard, enjoys the revenge of a lifetime.
Vincent Van Gogh ("The Yellow Jacket") warns his subject, "You can ruin yourself in the night cafes", where the absinthe flows freely and muddles the senses. Walking the streets of Arles, Van Gogh stares raptly at the wonder of nature's colors.Read more ›
These are unusual stories in form and perception. Art and the artist are seen from an angle, often told from the perspective of a model or a child or a lover. It is as if you rounded a corner and bumped into Renoir's easel or noticed Cézanne across a country road talking to a friend. These artists touch you as they really lived, as rather ordinary people. The stories are sometimes as quiet as walk in the woods. But in the end you feel you have known the little boy who threw stones at Cézanne, or the tired banker who goes to a weekend gathering in Montmartre and finds, in a short conversation with the artist Renoir who lives upstairs, a new joy in his life.
Of the contemporary stories in the second half of the book, "Crayon," about a little girl and her dying artist grandfather is such a beautiful piece of writing.
This book is for any reader who would like to know what it was like to see one of these artists not as some sort of sexual athlete or superman but walking across the street quietly with his paint box in his hand.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you enjoy art from the Masters, you will enjoy this book of short stories fictionally based on history of how art and life intermingle during the times of the great painters and... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Scott Roth
I re-read this collection of short stories in anticipation of Susan Vreeland's upcoming book, Lisette's List. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Indigo Jen
Each short story is a ," You are there "engrossing tour de force about a true artist. I reccommend it..Published on May 6, 2014 by Kindle Customer
But - you do get a little glimpse into each artist's life, even if fictionalized. I really love her novels. I'll give this one as a gift.Published on August 7, 2013 by Janice Holt
Loved this book; recommend it highly.
Couldn't put it down.
If you love art this is your book.
Ellen in Seattle
This is a book chosen for my art book club. Each story stands on its own but some overlap with different Impressionist artists. Read morePublished on February 13, 2013 by Gail Klein
Susan Vreeland has said that she wants to write about the enriching and uplifting power of art and she has certainly succeeded. Read morePublished on September 8, 2009 by LORAINE WELLMAN
A friend that I take art classes with recommended this book. I've really enjoyed it. It's a collection of stories that show how deeply art can affect average people in their daily... Read morePublished on July 25, 2008 by ilvbks