In The Painted Girls, artist Edgar Degas and author Emile Zola are prominent characters. Although it is is the story of the two van Goethem sisters, and their relationships with these two artists, the city of Paris may be the book's main character. It was a very different place in the late 1870s.
Paris boasts fabulous food, beautiful buildings and landmarks, and the iconic Seine River.
Cathy Marie Buchanan's chapters are marked with headlines from Le Figaro, the newspaper of the day. The city's dark, musty neighborhoods are filled with ordinary people, leading sad lives of unending poverty, whose only delights are occasional sex, mostly with inappropriate partners, and the occasional visit to a brasserie for too much wine. The headlines are about murder and mayhem, and it seems the characters in this book, like those in a famous book of the time by Emile Zola, are doomed to a terrible and wretched life. I'm hoping there will be some good news soon.
Are you enjoying the book? Do you agree with the idea that these people will remain forever on the lowest rung of society? It will surely make for a fascinating conversation. Be sure to reserve your free ticket to our book discussion meeting on Tuesday, August 12 at 6:30 p.m.