La Tour Dreams of the Wolf Girl by David Huddle

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Synopsis

In this absorbing novel, the award-winning author David Huddle tells a provocative story involving the life of the mysterious painter Georges de La Tour and the echoes of his work across time.
An art history professor, Suzanne Nelson escapes her failing marriage by retreating into her research and the fertile world of her imagination. La Tour's ability to create luminous portraits of peasants stood in sharp contrast to his aggression toward the poor, but little information about his life exists, and Suzanne finds herself filling in the details, trying to understand how a man capable of brutality could create such beauty. Unwittingly looking to her own life and marriage, she invents La Tour's final painting sessions with a young model, a village girl. When the girl modestly disrobes for the artist, he discovers a marking on her back that she is obviously unaware of. By painting her, La Tour in effect reveals to the girl exactly who she is and who she is not. Her reaction is at once astonishing and utterly warranted. In Suzanne's mind, this encounter becomes a story of truth and lies, art and identity.
Deftly moving between the present and the seventeenth century, Huddle reveals the surprising repercussions of history and art in modern life. In the process he asks the biggest questions: How do we come to define who we are? Which secrets must remain our own and which can we justify giving away? LA TOUR DREAMS OF THE WOLF GIRL is both passionate and fascinating, a wonder of narrative invention and emotional depth.
 

About David Huddle

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David Huddle has taught literature & creative writing at the University of Vermont since 1971. His poetry, fiction, & essays have appeared in "Esquire," "Harper's Magazine," the "New York Times Magazine," "Ploughshares," & "The Best American Short Stories.
 
Published January 1, 2002 by Houghton Mifflin. 208 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for La Tour Dreams of the Wolf Girl

Publishers Weekly

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Jack and Suzanne are also well-drawn characters, but Huddle never manages to make the artistic sensuality of La Tour's story resonate with Suzanne's personality or with Suzanne and Jack's romantic history, which never rises above the level of restless bed-hopping.

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Star Tribune

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Review: Huddle's new novel, set alternately in Vermont and 17th-century France, is an engaging and insightful exploration of sexual politics and the complexities of human relationships.

Feb 23 2002 | Read Full Review of La Tour Dreams of the Wolf Girl

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