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Extended Audio Sample Luncheon of the Boating Party Audiobook, by Susan Vreeland Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,863 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Susan Vreeland Narrator: Karen White Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2007 ISBN: 9781429586122
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Instantly recognizable, Auguste Renoir’s masterpiece depicts a gathering of his real friends enjoying a summer Sunday on a café terrace along the Seine near Paris. A wealthy painter, an art collector, an Italian journalist, a war hero, a celebrated actress, and Renoir’s future wife, among others, share this moment of la vie moderne, a time when social constraints were loosening and Paris was healing after the Franco-Prussian War. Parisians were bursting with a desire for pleasure and a yearning to create something extraordinary out of life. Renoir shared these urges and took on this most challenging project at a time of personal crises in art and love, all the while facing issues of loyalty and the diverging styles that were tearing apart the Impressionist group.

Narrated by Renoir and seven of the models, and using settings in Paris and on the Seine, Vreeland illuminates the gusto, hedonism, and art of the era. With a gorgeous palette of vibrant, captivating characters, she paints their lives, loves, losses, and triumphs in a brilliant portrait of her own.                                          

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Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 wanda | 2/14/2014

    " difficult to get interested in! half way into the story interest is sparked when author describes the various models and their lives. also the life in france in 1880. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janet Rosfeld | 2/11/2014

    " If you like detail, art history and are a francophile, you will really enjoy the unfolding story of one of Renoir's best paintings. It starts slow and builds. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jodie | 2/8/2014

    " OMG was this ever a slow read. I didn't think I would ever finish it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katy | 1/25/2014

    " Not the best plot and not the best written book I've ever read, but fun and light. For those who love Renoir (he's one of my top artists), love the painting (Luncheon is my #1 and I loved reading an interpretation of how it came to be) or love Paris (the book is set there), then this book is for you. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Pamela | 1/25/2014

    " This was pretty dreary reading, going nowhere, with too many characters but few developed. The end of the book brings together the gentle tribute to Renoir and the many people in his famous painting. It does point out the story behind the painting and the people who actually existed. However, it was about 300 pages too long. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jen | 1/19/2014

    " I absolutely LOVED this book!! As an artist I found this to be a clever, contemporary depiction & discussion of Renoir's masterpiece. It is intertwined with character development, romance drama, Parisian epicurian delights, and a fabulous use of art terms, spiced with extensively researched history. This combination creates a novel that is very well written and difficult to put down. It allows the reader to become a spectator in the action through the colorful descriptions. Worth every word!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nan Lund | 1/17/2014

    " There is much to love in this book; wonderful description from an artist's viewpoint. Development of a variety of characters. I wish I read more French as many terms are not translated which is a minor distraction. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Molly | 11/25/2013

    " I couldn't finish it! I wanted to like the book, but I just never could get into it. I am in a book club though and others enjoyed it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kelly A. | 11/11/2013

    " This book was beautifully written, it was just a little slow. I couldn't get into it and it took me like 4 days to read, which never happens! Also, I don't have a real appreciation for the French :) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karen Flanigan | 10/8/2013

    " I saw this book after seeing this painting in The Phillips Collection in DC. The painting was so beautiful and huge! I thought the author was very creative, and I really enjoyed the story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Deepa | 9/30/2013

    " Interesting concept. I've always wondered what artists thought about while they were painting. The author seemed very in touch with Parisian/ French living. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Meg | 9/25/2013

    " Interesting re-telling of the story of Renoir and his friends as this magnificent painting was being created. Delightful story "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beni | 8/22/2013

    " I listened to this book on audio cd and loved it. It's a great story about how Auguste Renoir came to create the famous "boating party" painting. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jim | 8/18/2013

    " The book was OK. I thought most of the characters were flat. The author was good at describing Paris in 1880's. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sandy | 8/8/2013

    " This was very interesting--to read about a male painter by a women author. Really enjoyed it. Loved Girl in Hyacinth Blue! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anita | 6/9/2013

    " Great read! Sparkling characters and dialogue. Takes you into Bohemian Paris and it feels like you are there experiencing the painting being created. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Megan | 5/15/2013

    " This painting has always captivated me because of the way that it captures the interactions among the people being painted. It was enjoyable to read this fictionalized account of their lives and Renoir's artistic process. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Vonnie | 8/21/2012

    " Susan vreeland has a way of transporting you to another time and place where you meet exciting and creative characters of history. I loved the book and can't wait to see the painting in person. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lisa | 7/2/2012

    " I enjoyed this book quite a bit. It's a very interesting telling of the painting of this wonderful masterpiece. Make you think about it completely differently! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shanay Brown | 3/1/2012

    " I enjoyed this book. Renoir might be my favorite painter. And I've seen The Luncheon of the Boating Party in the gallery in Washington, so it really came to life for me. To know intimate details of the subjects lives and the process and struggles of the time made me adore the painting even more. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sharon Jones | 8/30/2011

    " I didn't really enjoy it til I did some internet research on Renoir's life. In the last 1/3 of the book I became hooked (though I had to buzz through the boat race junk - I didn't like any of that). Not sure I'd recommend it as a good read... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 E. | 8/6/2011

    " Good research, not uninterestingly told. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jana | 8/6/2011

    " I enjoyed this audio book because of all the art related discussion in the book, which might prove boring to the non-artist reader. The epinonymous (sp?) painting is my favorite painting of all time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karla | 4/21/2011

    " I love everything Vreeland writes. For someone who is not an artist she captures a painting, the artist and the language of art beautifully. I kept reading and looking at the cover to see the characters brought to life and color. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Liz | 4/19/2011

    " so far it's poorly written, but I'll probably finish it. It's written like the author imagines writing it in French but then writes in English. I liked her other book.... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mona | 4/11/2011

    " These are always fun. You learn about the artist and the painting. This one was interesting because all the people in the work were personal friends of Renoir and much was already known about their lives. It was up to the writer to make the painting come alive. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maryann | 3/20/2011

    " Wonderful description, based on historical research, of how Renoir might have approached painting his masterpiece. Taught me about art and post commune France. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rose | 3/9/2011

    " Enjoyable trip through phase of Renoir's career and Paris art scene. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sara | 2/27/2011

    " Took forever to get through this one! I wanted so badly to love it... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lynne | 2/12/2011

    " By far one of the most delightful and interesting books I've read in a long time. So glad I got out of my book comfort zone to read it! Thanks Jan Hartzog for sharing it with me :-) "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Haley | 2/7/2011

    " So lacking in entertainment and insight, I feel. Freeland's other books allowed me to feel connected to the protagonists. This one, not so much. Kind of boring and lacking complication between the characters. "

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About the Author
Author Susan VreelandSusan Vreeland is the New York Times bestselling author of five books, including Luncheon of the Boating Party, Life Studies, The Passion of Artemisia, The Forest Lover, and Girl in Hyacinth Blue. She lives in San Diego.
About the Narrator

Karen White is a classically trained actress who has been recording audiobooks since 1999. An Audie Award finalist, she has earned numerous AudioFile Earphones Awards. Her reading of The Hemingses of Monticello by Annette Gordon-Reed was named one of AudioFile’s Best Audiobooks of 2009.