Sisters (French Literature)
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Mathilde Lewly--a female painter at the dawn of the twentieth century--has achieved notoriety among the Parisian avant-garde. She and her husband, also a talented young artist, pursue their separate visions side by side in a Clichy atelier, galvanized by the artistic ferment that surrounds them. But the couple are threatened by the shadow of Mathilde's little sister, Eug?nie: since the two girls' sudden departure from their native England, Eug?nie has been determined to vault the eight years separating her from Mathilde. Now, devoured by envy and haunted by a past she never actually experienced, the "little one" hurls herself into the artistic and personal life of her elder sister. It is the birth of a fierce rivalry, an emotional tug-of-war, played out against the bohemian riot of the last century's wildest years. But will the First World War's sudden and brutal eruption allow Mathilde to escape this intimate conflict and achieve her destiny?
one was only truly fond of one’s relations. How could I guess in those days that I’d miss this plump, reassuring woman at the most crucial moment? I didn’t realize that she’d already guessed what I was feeling—probably before I myself understood what was happening to me. I repeated my earlier solo flight one day when Mme Chesneau wasn’t available. I went out into the streets alone and took the risk of knocking on the door to M. Thorins’s studio without first sending word. The sofa there had
so real, I could almost touch it. I’d have liked to cross over it, go back in time the way I did in my incoherent dreams, and catch hold of the harmonious years spent in our home with its pretty name: Swann House, our beloved place at the end of Montpelier Row in Twickenham. All those names still sing inside me like the notes of a nursery song that might once have rocked me to sleep. Intimidated and traipsing along behind our mother, we were approached by two women, one of them more refined
I had been invited to visit some people on the shores of Lac Léman, so that was that. We’d be traveling back through Burgundy, where I’d fallen in love with the vineyard landscapes. Storms of leafy greenery there broke over the curving vines that lay in well-defined, ever-so-disciplined levels in manmade billows. At every instant the daylight worked to create deep thick shadows between the rolling waves of shifting green streaming down the hills. And in Switzerland I was breathless with wonder
You don’t have to like them. It is how my eyes dissect the light and shadow. There’s much to be explored in this new mode.” “I’ll probably never get used to it. I must lack a certain openness,” I stammered. “Turn your sense of appreciation loose, that’s all. Set it free! Come, will you, to the opening of the exhibit on May 13!” When I left, my mind was abuzz. I had a lot to learn in order to earn the right to walk the path I’d been determined to choose for myself ever since M. Jacquier had
come, no less terrifying. I had to get out of bed and think of something to occupy me, keep me from thinking about it. I folded and put away the furniture coverings then and there, in the middle of the night, and began to collect some especially precious things of ours so I could take them down to the cellar. Only then, finally, was I able to stretch out and doze off a bit. After a cup of black coffee, I heard the irresistible call of our lair in the back of the courtyard, and responded to it