Kathy Petersen's Reviews > Luncheon of the Boating Party

Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland
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Dec 07, 10

bookshelves: x-feb-10-thru-jan-11
Read in November, 2010

I’ve been after this book for a long time, and a story goes with it. Two stories.

Some years ago my daughter and I were general gofers for a professional production of Sunday in the Park with George. We were both completely enchanted, and my teenager who regularly yawned over reading absorbed all the books she could find on George Seurat.

A year or so later we were at the Art Institute in Chicago, gazing at the real-live, actual Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte and recalling the stories, our own and Sondheim’s, that lay behind that painting.

In the next gallery my daughter whispered frantically, “Mom, what were you doing in 1887?” Renoir’s painting of Two Sisters (alternately called On the Terrace) hung at the end of the gallery, and on second glance, the older girl did indeed look very much like a younger me. On third glance the little girl in the picture so strongly resembled my daughter, at about age four, that I gasped again.

And so I am always interested in reading novels behind the paintings.

Luncheon of the Boating Party is okay, indeed quite entertaining in some parts; but I think Vreeland was trying too hard in places to copy the painting into her story.
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