Monday, September 8, 2014

Evergreen™ Featured Title: The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan

The Painted GirlsThe Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan
FIC Bucha

A heartrending, gripping novel set in belle époque Paris and inspired by the real-life model for Degas’s Little Dancer Aged 14 and by the era's most famous criminal trials. 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 seems imminent. With few options for work, Marie is dispatched to the Paris Opéra, where she will be trained to enter the famous Ballet and meet Edgar Degas. Her older sister, Antoinette, finds employment—and the love of a dangerous young man—as an extra in a stage adaptation of Émile Zola’s Naturalist masterpiece L’Assommoir. 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.”
If you want to immerse yourself in all that is The Painted Girls, you must pop on over to Cathy Marie Buchanan’s website. Great information on the Parisian research behind the novel, a reading guide, a gallery of Degas’ artwork referenced in the novel, and more.
You can follow this up with a fascinating article about Degas and his obsession with dance, at the Smithsonian, or this longer examination of Degas at Vanity Fair.
If you are interested in the relationship between Degas and Marie Von Gothem, the model for The Little Dancer, you can watch this nearly hour-long documentary about this particular sculpture, a documentary which inspired Buchanan herself.

And then, if you are full of questions about how and why Buchanan decided to write this story, you must come out to Gallery Stratford, 54 Romeo St South (Stratford, ON) on Saturday, September 27th, at 2 pm, to hear her present her novel, and share a multimedia exploration of its themes. FREE to all. This author appearance is part of the Evergreen Reading Series and is a special Culture Days event, sponsored by the Stratford Public Library and Gallery Stratford.
Vote for your favourite nominated title during Ontario Public Library Week in October to choose the winner of the Evergreen™ Award!

Find the other nominees on the Evergreen Shortlist

1 comment:

  1. just started reading this book.. looking forward to it as it unfolds… and hearing the author speak..