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Mad Enchantment

Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies
By: Ross King
Narrated by: Joel Richards
Length: 11 hrs and 56 mins
4 out of 5 stars (121 ratings)

Regular price: $20.24

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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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    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.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    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

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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

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 5 people found this review helpful

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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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    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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One of the greatest biographical books

Love the story telling skill of the author. Line after line I felt captivated and immersed in the life of the artist even though I possess no artistic inclination whatsoever. It kept me craving for more detail and it kept coming back. Most awesome career and era defining by a single artist. Highly recommend this book.

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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 3 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • AM
  • 03-13-19

Disappointed

Ok, this book is read for English-speaking people, but occasionally some Frenchman may try to learn some English. Unfortunately he/she may not even recognize the few French words as the pronunciation is often so totally wrong.
A 15% slow-down in the reading speed may also have positively accentuated and dramatized the few remarkable passages in the story.

On the overall story, I also have grave reservations. It seems that the author has collected a great number of cards with the entire life of Monet in small episodes, has then spent a drunken week-end shuffling them around in the most absurd order and then sat down to write the story in that order. I have never seen any biography with less structure, logic or unity.
The story continuously goes back and forth in time, location, and characters. A mess!
I must admit that I have abandoned the book after three chapters, as I can find no unity and no pleasure in the entire story.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved It<br />

A wonderful and insightful look into Monet, his life and his beautiful art. The reading is very pleasant and enjoyable to listen to. The story itself is a great telling of his life.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Nicholas G Phillips
  • 01-29-19

How did the editors/ producers possibly choose thi

How did the editors / producers possibly choose this narrator ?
D r e a d f u l.
The French names, places, words are rendered incomprehensible by the narrator who clearly has no knowledge of the language. A sad butchering of a story that would be otherwise of interest.

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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful