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The Fountain of St. James Court by Sena…
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The Fountain of St. James Court (2013)

by Sena Jeter Naslund

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1037180,009 (3.08)3
"From the critically acclaimed bestselling author of Ahab's Wife, Four Spirits, and Abundance comes a new novel, The Fountain of St. James court or Portrait of the artist as an old woman."--

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
I wanted to love this book (I teach Vigeé-LeBrun), but I only liked it. It seemed unfinished to me. Both stories, that of the novelist and that of the 18th century painter, Vigeé-LeBrun, felt incomplete. I know more about Old Louisville than I do about the two primary characters. Perhaps that's how Naslund planned it, but I was dissatisfied. ( )
  AntT | Jan 24, 2015 |
I wanted to love this book (I teach Vigeé-LeBrun), but I only liked it. It seemed unfinished to me. Both stories, that of the novelist and that of the 18th century painter, Vigeé-LeBrun, felt incomplete. I know more about Old Louisville than I do about the two primary characters. Perhaps that's how Naslund planned it, but I was dissatisfied. ( )
  AntT | Jan 24, 2015 |
Yuck. Got to page 60 or so and thought "no way am I going on!!" First of all it moved like frozen molasses and the character Katheryn was unlikable. The second book "Portrait..." was better but having to endure the "St james" part was torture. I chose this book because I live in Louisville and The Fountain of St James Court caught my eye as I love the art festival that is held there in early October. The writer is on staff at UofL and I thought I would support her. Too bad I chose a bomb. ( )
  Alphawoman | Dec 10, 2014 |
Twenty-four hours in the life of a 'pushing seventy' woman author, Kathryn Callaghan, beginning with when she leaves her latest completed novel at the door or a friend, living across the Court [Sections entitled "Fountain"]. This alternates with this novel: a French woman painter, Elizabeth Vigée-Le Brun who lived during and after the French Revolution [Sections entitled "Portrait"]. The novel consists of memories, musings, thoughts about neighbors. meetings with them and an ex-husband, and how imagination is used in creating literature and art. The Fountain symbolizes beauty. Several of the arts are mentioned in the course of the novel: besides the writer and the artist, Kathryn's son sculpts and Leslie, Kathryn's friend, plays the cello.

Very slow-moving despite beautiful writing, which did become pretentious and overreaching at times. Much of it I skimmed after becoming impatient with it. The novel-within-a-novel was more interesting: about the artist's life, what inspired her in her art, and her connection to Marie Antoinette through painting her portrait. Very Virginia Woolfian and Proustian despite subtitle harking back to James Joyce. Lots of stream-of-consciousness, one thought leading to another, interspersed with meetings with neighbors. With me, a little stream-of-consciousness goes a very long way. The only 'action' per se was the unexpected visit of a former partner of Kathryn's son after the close of day. ( )
  janerawoof | Jun 6, 2014 |
I won this book in exchange for an honest review.

My honest review is that I didn't much care for this novel. I found this novel to be extremely slow. At about page 200 I had to ask myself, where is this story going? And at that point I decided I just could not put myself through the chore of finishing it.

However, the author is able to demonstrate her writing capabilities in this novel; evoking images using strong and lush prose. Unfortunately that skill did not enhance the story itself.

The historical part of the story was interesting and I found myself just skipping to those chapters.

Slow moving, uninteresting characters (in the present time) and convoluted prose. ( )
  NancyNo5 | Jan 8, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Despite a subtitle that clearly refers to James Joyce, Virginia Woolf echoes far louder in this novel within a novel following one day in the life of a 60-ish author of a fictional biography about the 18th-century portraitist of Marie Antoinette.
added by eereed | editKirkus Reviews (Jul 7, 2013)
 
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