Reading: The Painted Girls

The Painted Girls

Our friend Ann Mah tipped me off that The Painted Girls by Cathy Buchanan hits shelves today. I wasted no time downloading it for weekend reading. I suspect I’ll spend as much time peeking at the gorgeous cover as I do reading the text.

Set in belle époque Paris, the novel was inspired by the real-life model for Degas’s “Little Dancer Aged 14″ and by the era’s most famous criminal trials.

NPR interviewed Cathy Buchanan on weekend edition. You can listen here.

From the publisher:

“1878 Paris. Following their father’s sudden death, the van Goethem sisters find their lives upended. Without his wages, and with the small amount their laundress mother earns disappearing into the absinthe bottle, eviction from their lodgings seems imminent. With few options for work, Marie is dispatched to the Paris Opéra, where for a scant seventeen francs a week, she will be trained to enter the famous ballet. Her older sister, Antoinette, finds work as an extra in a stage adaptation of Émile Zola’s naturalist masterpiece L’Assommoir.

Marie throws herself into dance and is soon modeling in the studio of Edgar Degas, where her image will forever be immortalized as Little Dancer Aged Fourteen. There she meets a wealthy male patron of the ballet, but might the assistance he offers come with strings attached? Meanwhile Antoinette, derailed by her love for the dangerous Émile Abadie, must choose between honest labor and the more profitable avenues open to a young woman of the Parisian demimonde.

Set at a moment of profound artistic, cultural, and societal change, The Painted Girls is a tale of two remarkable sisters rendered uniquely vulnerable to the darker impulses of “civilized society.” In the end, each will come to realize that her salvation, if not survival, lies with the other.”

9 Comments

  1. Ann Mah
    January 11, 2013

    Wow! I’m so delighted to have introduced you to this novel — the author is a friend and a truly lovely individual! A cozy weekend, a fire + this book — sounds like heaven!

    Reply
  2. Nichole
    January 11, 2013

    Ann –

    This is just what I needed this morning. I have been reading some heavy non-fiction and dystopian novels. ;)

    Reply
  3. Terri
    January 11, 2013

    Sounds like a good story. Thanks for the tip!

    Reply
  4. Lauren
    January 11, 2013

    I happened to be able to get an advance copy and am really loving it. I definitely recommend it for fiction fans!

    Reply
    • Nichole
      January 11, 2013

      Lauren –

      I started reading it over lunch and I didn’t want to stop! Can’t wait to read more tonight. Hard to concentrate on work. ;)

      Reply
  5. Sierra Dante
    January 11, 2013

    Just downloaded and ready to get lost in Paris for the weekend.
    Thanks for the suggestion,

    Sierra

    Reply
    • Nichole
      January 11, 2013

      Sierra –

      So far so good. Hope you enjoy.

      Have a great weekend.

      Reply
  6. C.G.
    January 12, 2013

    You’ve convinced me. Have to add to my Amazon Wish List.

    Reply
  7. marni zarr
    January 30, 2013

    this looks and sounds like a book i need to get lost in. reading is more relaxing than a vacation :)

    Reply

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