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Claude & Camille: A Novel of Monet Paperback – April 5, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
The parts of this novel, which most impressed me, were those that were not only evocative of Monet's life with Camille. I love reading about Monet's interactions with his contemporaries, and I was immediately caught up, once more, in the Café where Renoir, Bazille, Pissarro, and other great artists met to discuss their plight, possible strategies for recognition, exchange of ideas, concepts, etc. [I would like to add that I was pleasantly surprised to see Courbet make an appearance.]
I am quite interested in the alliance between Bazille and Monet. I am most grateful that Stephanie Cowell expanded on this friendship. Bazille is depicted as emotionally, as well as financially supportive of Monet's work. Monet appeared to be rather dependent upon his kindness and generosity. Additionally, I enjoyed reading about Renoir's pragmatic attempts to engage Monet. It almost seemed as if Renoir wanted to protect Monet. I so love the work of all of these artists, as well as other great masters.
As mentioned above, the most engaging and authentic parts of this novel [for me] involve Monet's friendships, his need - dedication at all costs - to be the groundbreaking artist that he was. I simply joined them and reading parts of this novel were effortless. I derived much pleasure from accompanying these artists at the Café, standing on line with them, and hoping that their work would be accepted at the prestigious Salon.Read more ›
There's a great deal more to Claude Monet than can be known from a casual glance at one painting. He was a young man once, in love with a girl even younger. Stephanie Cowell imagines them as a pair of dreamers: the man dreams of fame and wealth and the girl dreams that a poor artist in debt will give her a life of plenty someday. Their love is rocked again and again with each loss of faith. _Claude and Camille_ is the story of how it endures, until death takes the muse away from the man.
As fictional biographies go this one puts more stress on 'fiction' than 'biography,' with only the barest bones of Camille's life and character known fact. The rest is speculation, or pure imagination, as it would have to be with so little known about Camille today. I respect that Cowell told me this in the book's acknowledgements. I'm still a little uneasy with some of the liberties taken: certain plot points or scenes are good for drama, but whether they do a disservice to Camille's memory... well... it's something I could argue. I wish there were a way to know what Camille was really like. I think I probably would have liked her better in life.Read more ›
Unfortunately, there are some novelists who are adept at showing rather than telling, but Cowell, alas, does not seem to be one of them. Perhaps her style might best be described as prosaic, lending a sort of flatness to a narrative that might have been alive with fervor and excitement (see Susan Vreeland's Luncheon of the Boating Party, on Renoir, for comparison.) This weakness does not prevent Claude and Camille from being and interesting story, just a great one. Worth reading, however, for anyone who loves the art of Claude Monet.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A wonderful look at the life and loves of a great artist. His art a much more demanding mistress than the women he loved. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Kim
Stephanie Cowell has a great eye for the setting of Monet's France and an ear for the dialogue for her characters. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Swan
Wonderful book with beautiful descriptions of places to create magnificent artwork. Very tender story and insight into my favorite artists life.Published 1 month ago by Lois
I was surprised at this book! I thought it was going to be one that would take time and effort to get through. Read morePublished 2 months ago by jo winn
A great book - well written and interesting. I did not know all of the artists that Monet associated with and how the impressionist movement developed and grew. Read morePublished 2 months ago by ar
An easy reading view of the life and loves of Claude Monet . I enjoyed the story and it was well written.Published 3 months ago by Tazmania