Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Blue Period” as Want to Read:
The Blue Period
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Blue Period

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  3,479 ratings  ·  200 reviews

A riveting novel about the tragic romance that nearly destroyed a young Pablo Picasso - while granting him his first flight of creative genius.

From rowdy Barcelona barrooms to the incandescent streets of turn-of-the-century Paris, Pablo Picasso experiences the sumptuous highs and seedy lows of bohemian life alongside his rebellious poet friend with a shadowy past, Carl

Hardcover, 348 pages
Published July 1st 2019 by Little A
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Blue Period, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Michelle Only Wants to Read It's not a biography nor a romance. The author did excellent research previous to writing this story. The dialogue will be imaginary, as you may expec…moreIt's not a biography nor a romance. The author did excellent research previous to writing this story. The dialogue will be imaginary, as you may expect since Pablo has been gone for a while. The author explores the friendship between Picasso and Carles Casagemas, and how the events that took place early in his career were a catalyst for the blue period. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.60  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,479 ratings  ·  200 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Blue Period
Michelle Only Wants to Read
4-5 (I wish it would have included photos or excerpts of the letters referenced in the work)

This book was my June's selection of Amazon First Reads. From the moment I saw the cover, I knew I had to read it. What I didn't know was how fascinating the story would be.

Even though it is historical fiction, the author discusses at the end of the book his extensive research to develop this story. I have always know who Picasso was, and I knew about his different periods, but I didn't know why the blue
Ruth Chatlien
Jul 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
DNF. One look at my book list would reveal I love books about artists. Not this one. I found the writing style clumsy and the story seedy and uninspiring. I finally gave up about 40% into the book. It may have been free as an Amazon Prime First Read but the cost in time of finishing it is just too high.
John Stephens
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An amazing ride!

To be quite honest, I’m not a fan of Picasso’s work for the most part. I respect his talent, it just doesn’t appeal to my eye (give me Monet instead), but this book came up on my First Reads list and sounded like fun.

It was more than fun, it’s a beautifully set piece of history told in a fictional style and, in a locale that I love (Paris), and was just a stellar read.
Jun 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Broken and Depressed

This book teaches more about the seedier side of Paris than about Picasso . Too much sex including prostitutes, models, each other and the prevalence of syphilis than I personally wanted or needed to know. I gave this a 3 star rating instead of the 2 star rating I wanted to originally give this book simply because it did tell about many intimate social issues of that time . The Blue period was very much about the the plight of a starving artist.
Jun 29, 2019 added it
I was really hoping this story would immerse me in the art world of Picasso, but it really just focused on all his whoring around. I kept reading hoping I would get to a part that would draw me in, but I’m finally calling it quits.
Ira Therebel
I find the idea of historical fiction with a real life person to be pretty interesting. And this one was about young Picasso during his time in Paris. So pretty fascinating.

But it ended up being pretty disappointing. It was so incredibly boring. I didn't feel like much was happening. I didn't feel the personality and connections of the characters, I didn't feel the atmosphere. And this again with almost no actual story. I have a feeling that an actual biography of Picasso could be much more inte
Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Prose and paint

I thoroughly enjoyed this debut novel: lush descriptions of the countryside of Spain, poignant moments of a life captured against the backdrop of a revolutionary arts era in Spain and France, the crazyfun and pathos of life in Montmartre, and irreplaceable camaraderie among poets, painters, and palm-readers.
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had mixed feelings about reading this book. After viewing an exhibit of Picasso's painting I came away with admiration of his skill and artistry but also apalledd wlth his apparent hatred of women. He used and abused women in his life. The book is a good, informative read of his young life as he found his fortune in Spain and Paris. It treats him as a person not an icon. Recommenced for all who like to read about the awakening and flourishing of the art process. ...more
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A very informative and beautifully written book by Luke Jerod Kummer! Great insight into the beginnings of Picasso's genius and successful career ...a must read ! ...more
Apr 14, 2020 rated it liked it
An entertaining work of historical fiction which I enjoyed once I relaxed into it and stopped worrying about how historically accurate it was. I felt that overall it was true to the spirit of the characters and the age, and gave a vivid portrait of artistic life in Paris and Barcelona. It follows Picasso’s early years as he struggled to establish himself as an artist, and chronicles his friendship wait Casagemas and the two men’s tempestuous relationship with Germaine and the tragic outcome. The ...more
Jill Paschal
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing

I have to say when I first began reading this book, I wasn’t quite sure that I would be much interested in finishing it, but I am thrilled that I did. This book reads like “The Paris Wife”, but unlike the fore mentioned book, The Blue Period offers the reader a true insight to Pablo Picasso’s early life and his struggles to make a name for himself. Description throughout the book is written superbly drawing the reader deeper into this historical fiction. I had to stop-pause for a mome
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was not my cup of tea and I’m sure it’s because the description on the flap of the book isn’t what you’re reading. It’s more about how Pablo had a lot of sex, and survived near starvation in order to commit to his art. Which is great, but not what I was looking for. I’m disappointed, but if the flap had been clearer I would’ve read it at a different point in time or just not read it at all.
Jeff Skott
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The beginning of Picasso

Wonderfully researched historical fiction and you feel like you are in Picasso's head at points in the book. You also find yourself screaming at Picasso for sliding back to will know what I mean when you get there. You will smell the sea air in Malaga and walk the streets of Montmartre with Picasso. It is that good a book!
Krystal Caracol
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this very much. Picasso is an easy artist to admire, and this book brought him into a different light. It was enticing to keep reading, even throughout the harsh living conditions and depression. The writing was fluid and romantic, turning an artist's life into art. ❤ ...more
Diana Williams
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing

This I enjoyed because it was about Picaso an artist I love. I had not heard much about his early life. His struggle to start painting was immense. His young life was hard, so he had the blue period. It was a nice change of pace.
Piotr Halaczkiewicz
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A well told story that paints Picasso’s early life in words

I wasn’t sure what to expect but once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. I knew little about Picasso’s life or art and thanks to the book, not only have a better understanding behind his early work, but also the life of artists and people of the period. I would recommend this for anyone who wants a great story about life and how it shapes us.
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing

While this novel may be fiction, it was quite fascinating. I really felt like I was inside Pablo's head while reading. All of his pain, his struggles, his loss, I felt like I was there with him throughout all of it. I got this book as a First Read, and I'm very glad that I did.
Luanne Smith
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Engaging and thoughtfully written. I'd been researching the period and Picasso's early years in Paris already, so the subject and style both appealed to me. Found it very interesting. ...more
Bonnye Reed
Jun 02, 2019 marked it as to-read
Amazon First Reads, June 2019
Sep 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Grim reading

If the author intended for his readers to become as depressed as Picasso was in his early years, he succeeded. This novel depicts the childhood and young adulthood of this prolific artist. Taught to paint by his father, he escapes to Paris to find himself and gets embroiled in a life full of poverty and debauchery that would depress the most positive among us. His best friend's suicide and a bout with syphilis send him into a tailspin. But he never stops painting. If anything, he pai
Linz Bassett
It's been a while since I've put something on my disappointing shelf. Unfortunately, this had to go on there. I didn't feel like anything ever actually happened in The Blue Period by Luke Jerod Kummer. It felt very repetitive and uninteresting. The language, specifically the dialogue, was awkward and hard to get through. I thought it'd be a lot more about the paintings than what was there. When it went into details of his paintings, the book was interesting. Unfortunately, most of the story was ...more
Stormy Bell
Aug 12, 2019 rated it liked it
2.5 stars, rounded to three.

I really wanted to like this book. But none of the characters, including Picasso himself, ever felt three-dimensional. For that reason, reading the book was a slog, and I almost gave up several times. I never felt myself truly engaged, and I finished more from a sense of duty than enjoyment.

On the positive side, the author can definitely write. I would consider giving another of his books a try, this one was just mostly a miss for me.
Mary Wallace  B
Jun 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is great- beautiful accounts of the painters vision and the making of the painter- I think any artist would appreciate! Enjoyed it!
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
To be honest, I never really liked Pablo Picasso. I can't pinpoint why. One day it was because I didn't "get" his art. Another because I heard how awfully he could treat women. This book doesn't really delve into his treatment of women, although at times he thinks really cruelly about Germaine.

I think this book really warmed me up to Pablo a lot. I never knew how much he suffered. How much he wrestled with existentialism and depression. Who doesn't? He is exceptionally relatable in this book, e
john calkin
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: pretty much any human
Recommended to john calkin by: Good Reads
Make sure you have your expectations in line before you start this novel. It is not about art appreciation. It is not about art instruction. It is not about art history. It is not a warm and fuzzy read. It is a biography of Picasso's life until the time he is 20 or so. It is about artists in Spain and France who make no money yet are prepared to go hungry and dirty rather than give up their devotion to their calling, with a strong focus on Picasso's personal trials with critics, gallery owners, ...more
Carol Sente
Jul 29, 2020 rated it liked it
This book was hard for me to rate but I’m glad I read it. Probably a more accurate rating would be 3.5 stars. What I enjoyed was learning more about a famous painter who’s art I enjoy and grew up seeing but not fully understanding. Since this is a historical fiction book, I appreciate the extent to which the author researched her subject, the time period in which he lived and even finer details like blue paint (all shared in the back of the book). I liked being immersed in the early Cubism and m ...more
Tavia Olive
Aug 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great historical fiction!

I loved reading about Picasso’s early life in Spain and eagerly looked up the images of each painting as it was mentioned in the book. It was really nice to see how he progressed from one style to the next and to understand what events *might* have precipitated each style.

I have been to some of the cities and areas where Picasso spent his life, and I have to say the author really found a way to bring these places to life as not just backdrops, but characters. Much of th
Apr 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
I read this novel because I am a former artist and love Picasso. Like the artist, I was expected to carry on the family tradition and become a painter. For me, this book situated Picasso in the historical events of the world. I hadn’t connected him with the end of the Spanish-American War. Also, I enjoyed reading about old Barcelona, about the endless conflicts between Spain and Catalonia. I enjoyed Kummer’s notes at the end of the book in which he talks about the extensive research required for ...more
Cynthia  Scott
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very good and complete picture of this fascinating and extremely complex man from his youth on. His early training, his relationship with his father, the gradual decline in his family's economic and social position, and the disruptive moves around Spain and later, France.

I had the good luck to see some of the very early, classical paintings he did as a teenager years ago in Barcelona. It was a great surprise and this small exhibition had no explanatory labeling. Now I understand! It was also su
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle
I really wanted to like this book. I love Picasso and was very interested in a fictionalized history on this period. It never took off for me though. The author would drone on about tangential historical events or endless descriptions of the area to the point where I would start to skim just to find the "story" again. I appreciate the research that was obviously done and some description of the time and place is always helpful to fill out the world you are being immersed in, but this went way ov ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Artist's Way Every Day: A Year of Creative Living
  • Taking Flight: Inspiration and Techniques to Give Your Creative Spirit Wings
  • Living the Creative Life: Ideas and Inspirations from Working Artists
  • The Decorated Page: Journals, Scrapbooks  Albums Made Simply Beautiful
  • Relative Fortunes (Julia Kydd #1)
  • Art Through the Ages
  • Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling
  • The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self-Portrait
  • The Flight Portfolio
  • An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers
  • Seven Days in the Art World
  • M.C. Escher: The Graphic Work
  • The Art Book
  • Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking
  • Stars in His Eyes
  • The Shock of the New
  • The Price of Paradise
  • Every Tool's a Hammer: Life Is What You Make It
See similar books…
Luke Jerod Kummer has worked as a reporter, an editor, and a travel writer. His nonfiction pieces have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, New York magazine, New Republic, The Washingtonian, The Village Voice, Literary Hub, The Millions, and Full Stop magazine. The Blue Period is his first novel.

News & Interviews

  As dedicated readers already know, some of the best and most innovative stories on the shelves come from the constantly evolving realm of...
25 likes · 4 comments
“But no one had been able to adequately capture the thing about her she herself most admired—how she could say more with her eyebrows than all the books in the Bibliothèque Nationale. She was proud of those prominent crescents and used them to great effect in daily life.” 1 likes
“The blues are intense, the mood rueful, throbbing, eternal.” 0 likes
More quotes…