Set in the richly drawn art world of nineteenth-century Paris, this stunning historical novel imagines Édouard Manet’s last days in an indelible snapshot of genius, illness, and the dying embers of passion.
Suffering from the complications of syphilis toward the end of his life, Édouard Manet begins to jot down his daily impressions, reflections, and memories in a notebook. He travels for healing respites in the French countryside and finds inspiration in nature—a cloud of dragonflies, peonies blanketed by the morning dew. Back in Paris, the artist holds court in his studio and meets a mysterious muse, Suzon. Entranced by Suzon’s cool blue eyes, he decides to paint his final masterpiece, A Bar at the Folies-Bergere, life-sized—and wagers his health to complete it. In a sensual portrait of Manet’s last years, illustrated with his own sketches, Maureen Gibbon offers a vibrant testament to the endurance of the artistic spirit.
Maureen Gibbon is the author of Paris Red, Thief, and Swimming Sweet Arrow. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in the New York Times, Literary Hub, Playboy, and other publications. Gibbon resides in northern Minnesota.
How can I not like this, a novel about one of my favorite painters by one of my favorite writers? Like one of the master’s paintings, The Lost Notebook of Édouard Manet
is universal in ambition, delicate in sensibility, and intimate in scope. In other words, this book is a miracle.
— Rabih Alameddine, best-selling author of An Unnecessary Woman