• Mad Enchantment

  • Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies
  • By: Ross King
  • Narrated by: Joel Richards
  • Length: 11 hrs and 56 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (212 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

We have all seen, whether live, in photographs or on postcards, some of Claude Monet's legendary water lily paintings. They are in museums all over the world and are among the most beloved works of art of the past century. Yet, ironically, these soothing images were created amid terrible personal turmoil and sadness.

The extraordinarily dramatic history behind the creation of these paintings is little-known; Ross King's new audiobook tells that story for the first time and, in the process, presents a compelling and original portrait of one of our most beloved artists.

King tells the full history of the special circumstances in which Monet created the Water Lilies. As World War I exploded within hearing distance of his house at Giverny, he was facing his own personal crucible. In 1911, aged 71, his adored wife, Alice, died, plunging him into deep mourning. A year later he began going blind. Then his eldest son, Jean, fell ill and died of syphilis, and his other son was sent to the front to fight for France.

Within months a violent storm destroyed much of the garden that had been his inspiration for some 20 years. At the same time, his reputation was under attack, as a new generation of artists, led by Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, were dazzling the art world and expressing disgust with Impressionism.

Against all this, fighting his own self-doubt, depression, and age, Monet found the wherewithal to construct a massive new studio, 70 feet long and 50 feet high, to accommodate the gigantic canvases that would, he hoped, revive him.

Using letters, memoirs, and other sources not employed by other biographers, and focusing on this remarkable period in the artist's life, Ross King reveals a more complex, more human, more intimate Claude Monet than has ever been portrayed and firmly places his water lily project among the greatest achievements in the history of art.

©2016 Ross King (P)2016 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about Mad Enchantment

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful book. Awful awful narration.

They must re record this if it to remain an audiobook. The book has a french word or location in every sentence and this narrator destroys the french language. At best he doesn't know any pronunciation but frankly this ruins the book as he even changes the words by his terrible reading. I am telling everyone who would enjoy this to only read it. Do not get the audio. I hope the author hasn't listened to this or he would cringe.

13 people found this helpful

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Pronunciation

I was appalled and disappointed with the very poor pronunciation of all foreign words ie French names and places Some were indecipherable
Book should be re recorded with a stand in
For all of the French or your reader needs a 5 hour tutorial
Wonderful story excellent angle on monet's
Life with so much political context.
Riveting

10 people found this helpful

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Good Story, Disappointing Narration

I love this author and I think this book is engagingly written. However, I feel like I am going to have to abandon it half-finished because of how frustrated I am with the narrator. He clearly has no idea how to pronounce French words, to the point that I often have no idea who, what or where he is talking about. Would have been better off with someone just pronouncing things phonetically rather than a mangled distortion. It feels like a bizarre oversight.

5 people found this helpful

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Poor French pronunciations by Richards.

Would you try another book from Ross King and/or Joel Richards?

I would NEVER listen to another book read by Richards. His French mispronunciations were awful and almost ruined the book for me. You should refund everyone who paid for this book.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment with the reader, Joel Richards.

Any additional comments?

Refund all of us who paid for this book.

5 people found this helpful

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Bravo

I’m glad I didn’t pay attention to the complaints about the narrator’s French pronunciation. I thought to myself that since I don’t speak French, I wouldn’t know the difference. In this case ignorance is bliss. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, narration and story!

3 people found this helpful

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Comprehensive but Painful to Listen

The book is clearly well researched and provides uncommon insights into the life of a remarkable artist. Because of that, I kept listening, though I felt my ears would bleed from the horrendous slaughter of the French language by the narrator. When a story is so filled with words of a foreign tongue, it should be narrated by someone conversant with pronunciation in that language. I know the narrator made the effort, but, oh là là! I need to recover from the hours of continuous assault upon the most beautiful language in the world!

2 people found this helpful

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Asome book!

I have listened twice to this book. I ordered the hard copy as well. I have learned so much about Claude Monet, and other artist, France. I am a painter and suggest this book to all who paint and love art in any form.

2 people found this helpful

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This book was boring and very poorly read. The French accent of the reader was awful!

This was the most boring and poorly read. There was no emotion and the French accent was the worst!

1 person found this helpful

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  • AM
  • 03-13-19

Disappointed

Ok, this book is read for English-speaking people, but occasionally some Frenchman may try to learn some English. Unfortunately he/she may not even recognize the few French words as the pronunciation is often so totally wrong.
A 15% slow-down in the reading speed may also have positively accentuated and dramatized the few remarkable passages in the story.

On the overall story, I also have grave reservations. It seems that the author has collected a great number of cards with the entire life of Monet in small episodes, has then spent a drunken week-end shuffling them around in the most absurd order and then sat down to write the story in that order. I have never seen any biography with less structure, logic or unity.
The story continuously goes back and forth in time, location, and characters. A mess!
I must admit that I have abandoned the book after three chapters, as I can find no unity and no pleasure in the entire story.

1 person found this helpful

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very good: King always opens new doors.

for art scholars and of course artists Ross King is probably just another book on a shelf, so to speak. but for those of us who see the great works of art and wonder where they came from, Ross King is terrific. it’s the details of the painters everyday life plus the details of momentous acts (in this book WW1 of course) that really make an era come alive. and if you have lost your sight and desperately need someone to tell you what’s on the canvas, Ross King is as good as it gets.

i hope you will not be as annoyed or distracted by the performer’s steadfast determination to mangle all the many french words and phrases throughout the book. in all other respects the book is well-performed.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Nicholas G Phillips
  • 01-29-19

How did the editors/ producers possibly choose thi

How did the editors / producers possibly choose this narrator ?
D r e a d f u l.
The French names, places, words are rendered incomprehensible by the narrator who clearly has no knowledge of the language. A sad butchering of a story that would be otherwise of interest.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Fran
  • 12-03-21

Great book, terrible narration.

I love Ross King's books. I live in Argenteuil, and recently visited Giverny and the Orangerie again, so was excited to see this included with membership. Unfortunately, Joel Richards so mangles the French language that I had to order a hard copy so I can go back and read it properly. I am surprised nobody stepped after he read the first chapter...

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  • Hiro
  • 04-07-17

Great listen

Fascinating story written beautifully and narrated very well. It surely changes the way we see his paintings. Thank you for producing this remarkable audiobook.

1 person found this helpful