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Publisher's Summary

We have all seen, whether live, in photographs or on postcards, some of Claude Monet's legendary water lily paintings. They are in museums all over the world and are among the most beloved works of art of the past century. Yet, ironically, these soothing images were created amid terrible personal turmoil and sadness.

The extraordinarily dramatic history behind the creation of these paintings is little-known; Ross King's new audiobook tells that story for the first time and, in the process, presents a compelling and original portrait of one of our most beloved artists.

King tells the full history of the special circumstances in which Monet created the Water Lilies. As World War I exploded within hearing distance of his house at Giverny, he was facing his own personal crucible. In 1911, aged 71, his adored wife, Alice, died, plunging him into deep mourning. A year later he began going blind. Then his eldest son, Jean, fell ill and died of syphilis, and his other son was sent to the front to fight for France.

Within months a violent storm destroyed much of the garden that had been his inspiration for some 20 years. At the same time, his reputation was under attack, as a new generation of artists, led by Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, were dazzling the art world and expressing disgust with Impressionism.

Against all this, fighting his own self-doubt, depression, and age, Monet found the wherewithal to construct a massive new studio, 70 feet long and 50 feet high, to accommodate the gigantic canvases that would, he hoped, revive him.

Using letters, memoirs, and other sources not employed by other biographers, and focusing on this remarkable period in the artist's life, Ross King reveals a more complex, more human, more intimate Claude Monet than has ever been portrayed and firmly places his water lily project among the greatest achievements in the history of art.

©2016 Ross King (P)2016 Audible, Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful book. Awful awful narration.

They must re record this if it to remain an audiobook. The book has a french word or location in every sentence and this narrator destroys the french language. At best he doesn't know any pronunciation but frankly this ruins the book as he even changes the words by his terrible reading. I am telling everyone who would enjoy this to only read it. Do not get the audio. I hope the author hasn't listened to this or he would cringe.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Pronunciation

I was appalled and disappointed with the very poor pronunciation of all foreign words ie French names and places Some were indecipherable
Book should be re recorded with a stand in
For all of the French or your reader needs a 5 hour tutorial
Wonderful story excellent angle on monet's
Life with so much political context.
Riveting

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Poor French pronunciations by Richards.

Would you try another book from Ross King and/or Joel Richards?

I would NEVER listen to another book read by Richards. His French mispronunciations were awful and almost ruined the book for me. You should refund everyone who paid for this book.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment with the reader, Joel Richards.

Any additional comments?

Refund all of us who paid for this book.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Anthony
  • Ardmore, PA, United States
  • 03-31-18

Reading and Speaking French

WHY - WHY do producers who are dealing with books that are filled with foreign words, in this case French, select readers who have no competence in the language. Joel Richards attempts at French are horribly painful. This is a text that requires a reader with some skill in the language and Richards has none. Furthermore, Richards clearly has no knowledge of the material as is evident by numerous other mistakes in the reading and most egregiously evident when he pronounces Mary Cassatt as Mary KASS-it.,
Ross King is always a good story teller although in this case the tale is less about Monet and more about turn of the century France.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Narration lacks

good book, with so many French words in this book they did have picked a narrator with some knowledge of the French language. The narrator pronunciation of French words is simply unintelligible.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great cultural history of art

I am not finished but I am enjoying the book and the detailed history of this period and Monet. I am an art historian and our literature lacks this kind of context often. But the narrators French accent is terrible. So bad that it distracts. He has a nice voice and good story telling skills. But they should have selected someone who could pronounce the many French words with some fluency.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good Story, Disappointing Narration

I love this author and I think this book is engagingly written. However, I feel like I am going to have to abandon it half-finished because of how frustrated I am with the narrator. He clearly has no idea how to pronounce French words, to the point that I often have no idea who, what or where he is talking about. Would have been better off with someone just pronouncing things phonetically rather than a mangled distortion. It feels like a bizarre oversight.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Beautiful and sad story. OK performance

I love learning more about Claude Monet, the story is both beautiful and sad. Performance was just OK. A little bit monotone, I found myself drifting off quite easily. However overall, if you are into the time period And the artist you will definitely enjoy this Book.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good read for anyone interested in Monet

Any additional comments?

I was shocked to find that the book started after the death of his first wife. There was NO mention of childhood experiences or influences? Or even much about his early personal life with his first wife and his children while they were younger. that seems to be crucial missing information.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Asome book!

I have listened twice to this book. I ordered the hard copy as well. I have learned so much about Claude Monet, and other artist, France. I am a painter and suggest this book to all who paint and love art in any form.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Hiro
  • 04-07-17

Great listen

Fascinating story written beautifully and narrated very well. It surely changes the way we see his paintings. Thank you for producing this remarkable audiobook.