Pierre-Auguste Renoir's painting Luncheon of the Boating Party captures a magical moment in time. A dozen friends of the artist lounge and laugh at a Seine-side restaurant on a summer Sunday, symbolizing la vie moderne of late nineteenth-century Paris. But can the post modern man still relate to Luncheon? Perhaps — if you've read Susan Vreeland's historical novel Luncheon of the Boating Party. Vreeland imagines the lives of the dazzling dozen, using Renoir and seven of the models as narrators. Maybe you, too, will find an echo of yourself in Antonio Maggiolo, the Italian journalist who jokes that he's not clever enough to be witty, so he instead writes about the absurd, such as self-expression through umbrella-opening and "how to piss on the street with style." Ah, yellow journalism jokes: They're always in style. Left Bank Books welcomes Susan Vreeland to the Headquarters branch of the St. Louis County Library (1640 South Lindbergh Boulevard, Frontenac; 314-367-6731 or www.left-bank.com) for a discussion and book-signing at 7 p.m. this evening. Admission is free.
Tue., Feb. 26, 2008