cover image Paris Red

Paris Red

Maureen Gibbon. Norton, $24.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-393-24446-5

In this wonderful novel chronicling the life of one of painter Edouard Manet’s primary models, Gibbon (Thief) takes readers on a mesmerizing, erotic journey not only to another time and place but inside the mind of an artist. When we meet Victorine (the opening line is, “That day I am seventeen and I am wearing the boots of a whore”), the young girl who will become Manet’s muse, we are presented with a self-aware teenager, poor but full of imagination, with a penchant for drawing and a hunger to experience life. She is drawn to the mysterious Manet, who befriends Victorine and her roomate Denise, and what starts as a harmless ménage à trois becomes something much more when Trine (as Manet calls her) forces the artist to choose between the two women. As their affair develops, Trine comes to learn that Manet wants her to pose for him, which she does with increasing abandon, though she knows the relationship won’t last. Using spare, evocative prose, Gibbon shows us a young woman on the verge of finding her own artistic voice and offers an insightful and riveting account of how Manet and his muse feed off of each other’s passion to create something greater than either of them. Agent: Nicole Aragi, Aragi Agency. (Apr.)