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Paris Red: A Novel

by Maureen Gibbon

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614381,077 (3)None
"At seventeen, Victorine Meurent abandons her old life to become immersed in the Parisian society of dance halls and cafés, meeting writers and artists like Baudelaire and Alfred Stevens. As Manet's model, Victorine explores a world of new possibilities and stirs the artist to push the boundaries of painting in his infamous portrait Olympia, which scandalizes even the most cosmopolitan city"--Dust jacket flap.… (more)
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Showing 4 of 4
An enjoyable read. Good details. Paris 1862. Artists & Cafes. Once Edouard Manet meets Victorine, and unconventional love blooms and the portrait we know as Olympia comes to life to change the art world forever. A lovely, fun read. ( )
  ShannonRose4 | Sep 15, 2020 |
I struggled to get into this novel and it was short enough that it was over right when I felt like the pages were starting to fly by. I shouldn't, but I can't help but compare this novel to Rodin's Lover, which I read a few months ago, and was set in Paris during approximately the same time period. I also enjoyed reading that book much better than this one. This book isn't bad by any means, I just didn't get a great enjoyment out of it and can't really recommend it for anyone who isn't a complete art lover (it helps if you're familiar with 19th-century art). ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Jan 2, 2016 |
Paris, 1862: impoverished but beautiful teenage factory worker Victorine Meurent and her friend Denise attract the attention of a slightly older, well-heeled gentleman who shares his fantasies of entering into a ménage à trois with them. Denise bows out, but Victorine soon finds herself living a completely different life as a nude model and kept woman of Impressionist pioneer Édouard Manet. Under Manet's influence, she discovers sexual fulfillment and her own inner artist--never mind that another woman is his official, publicly-acknowledged mistress and mother of his son.

The first 100 pages or so are intriguing, as Manet (who, oddly, is not named until the end of the book) plays a cat-and-two-mice game with Victorine and Denise, grooming both young women for his planned seduction. After Manet and Victorine begin their affair, however, the narrative devolved into one soft-core erotic tableau after another. If you are looking for a dramatic depiction of the 1860s Paris arts scene, you will not find it here (apart from a desultory cameo appearance by Baudelaire). Likewise, if you didn't know about the controversies surrounding Manet's best-known works featuring Victorine, Olympia and Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe, and their importance to the history of art, this novel won't enlighten you, either. Disappointing. ( )
  akblanchard | Oct 12, 2015 |
Lovely writing, and a quick read for me. Maureen Gibbon's interpretation of the relationship between Manet and Victorine was of one that was hyper-sexual, but not purely so. There was depth as well. This may be a possible reread for me in the future. ( )
  quillmenow | Sep 4, 2015 |
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"At seventeen, Victorine Meurent abandons her old life to become immersed in the Parisian society of dance halls and cafés, meeting writers and artists like Baudelaire and Alfred Stevens. As Manet's model, Victorine explores a world of new possibilities and stirs the artist to push the boundaries of painting in his infamous portrait Olympia, which scandalizes even the most cosmopolitan city"--Dust jacket flap.

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