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Light

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  99 ratings  ·  14 reviews
"A day in the life of Claude Monet in the summer of 1900...a luminous prose poem of a novel...unhurried, richly descriptive, rarely ornamental or excessive—indeed, a kind of impressionism in words."
The New York Times Book Review (as quoted on the back cover)
Mass Market Paperback, 160 pages
Published September 12th 1984 by Ballantine Books
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Stephen P
A book of impressionistic psalms to the presence and fading of time through the eyes of an aging Monet. I assumed this would be the totality of the book when I purchased it. Figes had this idea plus others. I gripped my chair through the rapid changing of point of view, the scenery, Monet, the complexity of each moment and each person in his family during one sunny day.

Short at 91 pages Figes slips into the rapid weave of her story with a deftness to be admired even as I read, reading slowly to
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Marita
Moments of
Light and dark
Sorrow and joy
Dawn and dusk
Old and young
Death and eternity

I was struck by the number of contrasts in this story about a day in the life of Monet at Giverny. There is Monet's eager response to the dawn as opposed to that of Alice. Each one in this short novel responds in different ways to the events of the day, hence my mention of sorrow and joy, light and dark, etc. there is also nature versus modern inventions, Monet's assertiveness versus his family's submissiveness and
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Sarah
Sep 20, 2014 Sarah rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
In brief summary: It's a series of moments—sense impressions, really—with metaphorical significance. A strong feminist thread runs throughout. Occasionally, it did hit that perfect note. (Monet's wife Alice was written quite well.) But, overall, this fell a bit flat in my opinion. I liked it better the first time I read it when it was called To the Lighthouse. *drops the mic*
Niki Tulk
I really enjoyed reading a novel that replaced "action" with the flowing, tremulous, ever-changing journey of light: across the land around Giverny, across (and reflecting) the lives of the central characters of Claude Monet and his family. The writing was deft and poetic, and I reveled in the dreamy sadness of the novella. Light was a character as well as key element in this work, and this made it an unusual and refreshing reading experience for me.
Heather
I found Light on the sidewalk and brought it home on the strength of the back cover blurb, a quote from The New York Times Book Review that says the book is "a luminous prose poem of a novel" and also calls it "unhurried" and "richly descriptive." I'd never heard of Figes, and have never been particularly interested in Monet, who is the book's subject (though someone, probably my mom, bought me a copy of Linnea in Monet's Garden when I was a kid and I remember liking it well enough). Maybe my ...more
Kristal Cooper
The flower garden and water lily pond at Monet's home in Giverny are some of my favorite places on earth. I hoped this book would spend the majority of its time describing the grounds and how Monet himself saw it. Unfortunately, too much of the story is about his family and current affairs. I'm sure some people will love this book for its snapshot of the times, but I was just hoping for something different. I will say, this book is a very nice example of Creative Writing.
Chris
Beautiful, descriptive writing. The novel is not necessarily meant to be plot-driven. This reminded me of Mrs. Dalloway, being "a day in the life of..." Claude Monet and his family. Worth a read if only to experience a great women's lib author's descriptive talents. You will imagine every leaf and petal, every ripple of water and dapple of sunlight, perfectly in the hands of Figes.
Ria
To the credits on the back cover, "A luminous prose poem" and "A small masterpiece" I can only add "An exquisite haiku". This beautiful novella describes one day in the life of Claude Monet, his family and his friends. I have visited Giverney and now, thanks to Eva Figes, I can almost imagine they were there. "Was it yesterday, or a century ago?".
Charles Bechtel
A curious book to which, for some reason, I keep returning. I've written single-day stories and a 40-hour novel myself, so share with her the difficulties of maintaining a tale in such a compressed time frame. Had a big impact on two chapters of my second book. A recommended read to people who like discovering uncommon novels.
Patricia
I read this in conjunction with the Humanities class at work. If it is possible it reads like a Monet painting. It is a stream of consciousness novel about a day in the life of Monet at Giverny. The language is stunning. If you close your eyes you can picture his paintings. What a gift to be able to write like that!
Elizabeth Simons
Great timing in reading this in NY, seeing Monet paintings at Met and MOMA. It's a fictionalization of Monet's life in later years when he's obsessed with his garden and painting it in the changing light. Told from varying points of view of his extended family members and servants.
Becky
Jul 16, 2008 Becky rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: art lovers
Shelves: beloved, favorites
This little book is poetic art; the words almost melt in your mouth. The author captures the essense of light and its changes at reflected in Monet's paintings. If you can ever find this out-of-print treasure, snap it up and you will be richly rewarded.
Jeffrey
Sublime - a masterful portrait of a day in the life of Claude Monet and family at Giverny - it is luminescent!
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71979
Eva Figes (born Eva Unger) is a German-born English author.

Figes has written novels, literary criticism, studies of feminism, and vivid memoirs relating to her Berlin childhood and later experiences as a Jewish refugee from Hitler's Germany. She arrived in Britain in 1939 with her parents and a younger brother. Figes is now a resident of north London and the mother of the academic Orlando Figes an
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