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Luncheon of the Boating Party
by Susan Vreeland

Published: 2007-05-03
Hardcover : 448 pages
11 members reading this now
23 clubs reading this now
6 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 2 of 3 members
Bestselling author Susan Vreeland returns with a vivid exploration of one of the most beloved Renoir paintings in the world

Instantly recognizable, Auguste Renoir's masterpiece depicts a gathering of his real friends enjoying a summer Sunday on a café terrace along the Seine near ...
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Introduction

( Bestselling author Susan Vreeland returns with a vivid exploration of one of the most beloved Renoir paintings in the world

Instantly recognizable, Auguste Renoir's masterpiece depicts a gathering of his real friends enjoying a summer Sunday on a café terrace along the Seine near Paris. A wealthy painter, an art collector, an Italian journalist, a war hero, a celebrated actress, and Renoir's future wife, among others, share this moment of la vie moderne, a time when social constraints were loosening and Paris was healing after the Franco-Prussian War. Parisians were bursting with a desire for pleasure and a yearning to create something extraordinary out of life. Renoir shared these urges and took on this most challenging project at a time of personal crises in art and love, all the while facing issues of loyalty and the diverging styles that were tearing apart the Impressionist group. Narrated by Renoir and seven of the models and using settings in Paris and on the Seine, Vreeland illuminates the gusto, hedonism, and art of the era. With a gorgeous palette of vibrant, captivating characters, she paints their lives, loves, losses, and triumphs in a brilliant portrait of her own.

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Excerpt

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Discussion Questions

Suggested by Members

What was going on in France during the year of this painting as it was finished in 1881. That will help you understand Alphonsine Fournaise and the activities of the other people in the painting.
by judejude (see profile) 07/08/11

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

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Book Club Recommendations

Yes, but all means get to know the people in the painting and make it a point to remember things about them. It will enrich your reading 10-fold.
by judejude (see profile) 07/08/11

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
  "Luncheon of Boating Party"by cao324 (see profile) 07/07/12

This is a historical fiction about Renoir's famous painting and how he recruited people to model for the painting and the different stories behind these characters. A fun read, especially if you are a... (read more)

 
  "Luncheon of the Boating Party"by judejude (see profile) 07/08/11

A Must read. It captures you from the first page. We actually had fun learning about Auguste Renoir and the makings of this painting. We all felt a closeness to the people in the painting and felt a part... (read more)

 
  "beautiful descriptions just slow"by elahenaz (see profile) 07/25/10

 
  "Story Brings the Painting to Life"by donnadeleon (see profile) 11/17/08

I was not expecting this book to be a favorite, and it got off to a slow start, but I was drawn into the story and thoroughly enjoyed it. The discussion generated was even better, and after reading the... (read more)

 
  "Beautifully written historical fiction."by melanieseibel (see profile) 09/03/08

Most of our book club enjoyed this book. All of us who attended the meeting agreed it was difficult to start or 'get into'. Once we all got past the first 50-70 pages we loved it. Some people were overwhelmed... (read more)

 
  "Art , History and fiction all rolled into one"by dchase21 (see profile) 07/31/08

Vreeland once again has taken a piece of art and its artist and fleshed out both. Her ability to weave the historical events of late 19th century France to Renoir and his painting makes for an enlivened... (read more)

 
  "This book is not for everyone - difficult to get into and to keep track of the characters. You really need a Who's Who of the cast or a family tree or graph!"by nanyannie (see profile) 07/27/08

I enjoyed this book once I got into it, but it was difficult at first. Several members of my book club did not finish it because they gave up trying to figure out who was who. On the plus side, however,... (read more)

 
  "was a great book very visual reading"by rosalie (see profile) 07/26/08

I could see, smell and almost taste the food served every Sunday - feel the texture of the fabrics on the clothes of the ladies - feel the movement of the boats during the races - all these elements make... (read more)

 
  "Upbeat and good summer read"by tanyajfitts (see profile) 06/05/08

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