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The Last Nude by Ellis Avery
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The Last Nude (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Ellis Avery

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2533845,261 (3.49)21
Member:CaseyStepaniuk
Title:The Last Nude
Authors:Ellis Avery
Info:Riverhead Trade (2012), Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:american, historical, read, fiction, bisexual, queer, class, jewish

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The Last Nude by Ellis Avery (2012)

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Very much enjoyed this book. My full review is located at C-Spot Reviews: http://reviews.c-spot.net/archives/1640 ( )
  amcheri | Jul 12, 2016 |
The Last Nude tells the story of the painter Tamara de Lempicka, a Polish aristocrat, and her relationship with Rafaela Fono, the Italian-American girl who modeled for de Lempicka's most celebrated paintings.[return][return]Most of the story is told through the voice of Rafaela, a half-Jewish teenager, raised in New York City, who winds up penniless on the streets of Paris after fleeing an arranged marriage. Prostitution is the only prospect for Rafaela until a chance encounter with Tamara de Lempicka leads, not only to a stunningly successful artistic partnership, but to a torrid love affair between artist and model.[return][return]The artistic milieu of Paris in the 1920s is vividly and convincingly portrayed. De Lempicka moved among a circle of artists, writers, migrés, and adventurers who experimented as boldly with drugs and sex as they did in their chosen art. But greed, jealousy and betrayal were ever at hand and cast a shadow over Rafaela and Tamara just as the rise of Fascism was casting a shadow over Europe.[return][return]The final pages of the novel give a retrospective from Tamara's point of view during her life's final years in Cuernavaca, Mexico. They complete a moving portrait of this glamorous, haughty, but troubled artist. ( )
  Dolmance | Oct 29, 2015 |
Extremely well-researched. Lots of name-dropping and historical detail. Too much even. I could never get past the feeling of reading an extremely well-researched book. The magic of the story eluded me--perhaps because I didn't empathize with Rafaela's slavish adoration of de Lempicka whose sense of entitlement and egoism left me cold. ( )
  brocade | Oct 18, 2013 |
Several people had recommended this book to me, as I tend to be interested in stories set in France. I'm glad they did -- it was a good story. I found Rafaela particularly fascinating, though I didn't really care for Tamara.

I found it odd that there was a part two, with Tamara's POV later in life. I think it would have been just as well to end the book with the end of part one. Part two seemed unnecessary, and IMO, didn't add to the story.

Excellent book, well worth the read. ( )
  alyslinn | May 25, 2013 |
Fairly lightweight, sometimes a bit soap-opera-y, but fun enough if you like reading about the artist/expat world of 1920s Paris. Also, I thought she did a really good job of showing what people will do for money, and why, and making it very human and relatable. ( )
  kgib | Mar 31, 2013 |
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Book description
A stunning story of love, sexual obsession, treachery, and tragedy, about an artist and her most famous muse in Paris between the world wars.

Paris, 1927. In the heady years before the crash, financiers drape their mistresses in Chanel, while expatriates flock to the avant-garde bookshop Shakespeare and Company. One day in July, a young American named Rafaela Fano gets into the car of a coolly dazzling stranger, the Art Deco painter Tamara de Lempicka.

Struggling to halt a downward slide toward prostitution, Rafaela agrees to model for the artist, a dispossessed Saint Petersburg aristocrat with a murky past. The two become lovers, and Rafaela inspires Tamara's most iconic Jazz Age images, among them her most accomplished-and coveted-works of art. A season as the painter's muse teaches Rafaela some hard lessons: Tamara is a cocktail of raw hunger and glittering artifice. And all the while, their romantic idyll is threatened by history's darkening tide.

Inspired by real events in de Lempicka's history, The Last Nude is a tour de force of historical imagination. Ellis Avery gives the reader a tantalizing window into a lost Paris, an age already vanishing as the inexorable forces of history close in on two tangled lives. Spellbinding and provocative, this is a novel about genius and craft, love and desire, regret and, most of all, hope that can transcend time and circumstance.
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"A stunning story of love, sexual obsession, treachery, and tragedy, about an artist and her most famous muse in Paris between the world wars. Paris, 1927. In the heady years before the crash, financiers drape their mistresses in Chanel, while expatriates flock to the avant-garde bookshop Shakespeare and Company. One day in July, a young American named Rafaela Fano gets into the car of a coolly dazzling stranger, the Art Deco painter Tamara de Lempicka. Struggling to halt a downward slide toward prostitution, Rafaela agrees to model for the artist, a dispossessed Saint Petersburg aristocrat with a murky past. The two become lovers, and Rafaela inspires Tamara's most iconic Jazz Age images, among them her most accomplished-and coveted-works of art. A season as the painter's muse teaches Rafaela some hard lessons: Tamara is a cocktail of raw hunger and glittering artifice. And all the while, their romantic idyll is threatened by history's darkening tide. Inspired by real events in de Lempicka's history, The Last Nude is a tour de force of historical imagination. Ellis Avery gives the reader a tantalizing window into a lost Paris, an age already vanishing as the inexorable forces of history close in on two tangled lives. Spellbinding and provocative, this is a novel about genius and craft, love and desire, regret and, most of all, hope that can transcend time and circumstance. "-- "A novel by the author of The Teahouse Fire about an artist and a young American woman beginning in 1920's Paris"--… (more)

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