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Life Studies: Stories
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October 2016: Historical Fiction > Life Studies / Susan Vreeland - 3***

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Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 5790 comments Life Studies Stories by Susan Vreeland
Life Studies: Stories – Susan Vreeland
Book on CD read by Karen White

Vreeland is best known for her historical novels focusing on various artists (Claude Monet, Emily Carr, Johannes Vermeer, etc). This is a collection of short stories that focus on art, but more on the people around the artist, rather than on the artist him/herself. The first half of the book is set in an historical time frame, the second half is contemporary.

We see a father’s eyes opened to his young daughter after August Renoir takes an interest in painting her. A woman who was befriended by Camille and Claude Monet (and would become the artist’s second wife), suffers through the rumors and gossip following her husband’s abandonment, and Camille’s death. A young woman hunts for clues about her father, Modigliani. A young girl is asked to water her neighbor’s plants while the neighbor is on vacation, and her eyes are opened to art she never imagined before. A teacher is faced with the possibility of miracles when a drawing by a student cannot be erased, and appears to cry. A mother recognizes that her son is growing into an adult when they both participate in a Tableaux Vivant.

I really liked some of these stories, and others left me feeling ‘meh.’

Karen White’s performance on the audio was adequate, but I never really connected to the work. I thought she did a better job on the contemporary stories.

message 2: by Anita (new)

Anita Pomerantz | 6423 comments These sound good. Have you read other books by Vreeland before. I think historical novels about artists sounds like a good way to learn something about art. Any recommendations?

message 3: by Jgrace (new) - added it

Jgrace | 2809 comments I've enjoyed several of her books, even though there always seems to be something awkwardly contrived in her plots. She's very good when she's discussing the art and that carries the books for me.

Luncheon of the Boating Party and Clara and Mr. Tiffany were 4 star reads.

I gave The Forest Lover 3 stars, but it did teach me about an artist that I'd never heard of.

None of these books worked for me as audiobooks ( I know, not an issue for Anita)

message 4: by Book Concierge (last edited Oct 11, 2016 04:42AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 5790 comments I've read most of her books.
4**** for
The Forest Lover
The Passion of Artemisia
Clara and Mr. Tiffany

I gave 5***** to Girl in Hyacinth Blue ... but I read it so long ago, and my review is so brief I really can't say why I rated it so highly. This book is about a "Vermeer" painting and is told in reverse chronological order.

3*** for Luncheon of the Boating Party

Of all these, Anita, the two I think I liked best are The Passion of Artemisia and The Forest Lover

message 5: by Anita (new)

Anita Pomerantz | 6423 comments Thanks to both of you for these mini reviews and suggestions. It sounds pretty interesting to me! I'm going to throw one on my list and give her a try.

message 6: by Olivermagnus (new)

 Olivermagnus (lynda214) | 2018 comments I read Girl in Hyacinth Blue years ago but I think I liked it. I really enjoyed Clara and Mr. Tiffany and thought it did a great job of representing women who worked at that time.

message 7: by Joi (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3808 comments Man, I've had Luncheon of the Boating Party on my bedside table for a few months. One of mom's recommendations. Sounds like a good intro to Vreeland's writing.

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