Gretchen's Reviews > Luncheon of the Boating Party

Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland
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Jul 25, 2011

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This is a novelization of the painting of “Luncheon of the Boating Party” by Renoir. I have such mixed feelings about it. I read it piecemeal, and it should be read in as few sittings as possible. If I had time, I’d reread it. It seemed to drag in places, but I think that was because I’d become disconnected with it. There are many characters, interactions, and nuances to keep up with. This novel was greatly aided by history. It was extremely well researched, and good use was made of historical detail. Two maps were included, which helped. The last chapter was one of the most moving I’ve ever read, which clued me into the fact that I had been much more involved in the novel than I realized. That said, it did have, to me, a problem with sentimentality that I think was linked to characterization, particularly with the women. I think it is that, while their lives were quite different (and well depicted as such), there was a subtle sameness about them. But, like Vreeland’s other fiction, it’s a good read, and a lovely way to enter into art.
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