Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper – Harriet S. Chessman

Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper is a novel about the relationship between the American impressionist painter Mary Cassatt and her older sister Lydia Cassatt while also touching on the painter’s life in Paris and her circle of friends. Although Mary Cassatt is not one of my favourite painters, I wanted to read a book about a female artist this time. It’s not a great novel, but I can say that I learned a lot about the painter and the period in which she lived.


Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper - Harriet S. Chessman

Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper is a five-part book. In each episode, the author has come up with true-to-life stories based on a painting of Mary depicting Lydia. These stories are a continuation of each other, and each is about the paintings. Lydia was weakened from time to time by kidney disease, and it was affecting her life in every sense. She knew that she would never recover from this illness and would not live very long.

Mary, who was very attached to Lydia, painted her sister as if she wanted to keep her alive. The book, which more or less describes the relationship between Mary Cassatt and Degas, also includes the picture described in each chapter. If you love Mary Cassatt, you may like reading Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper. As I’ve mentioned earlier, it is not a great novel but it has its moments. And I always think reading about art and artists are always a joy. Do not forget to check out Marry Cassatt’s paintings here: If you’re not interested reading this book, at least you’ll see her wonderful paintings. Enjoy!

Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper - Harriet S. Chessman

Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper

Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper: Readers will be transported to the vibrant art scene of late nineteenth-century Paris in this richly textured portrait of the relationship between Mary Cassatt and her sister Lydia.

Beginning in the autumn of 1878, Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper dreams its way into the intimate world of Cassatt’s older sibling. Told in the reflective, lyrical voice of Lydia, who is dying of Bright’s disease, the novel opens a window onto the extraordinary age in which these sisters lived, painting its sweeping narrative canvas with fascinating real-life figures that include Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Edgar Degas, Cassatt’s brilliant, subversive mentor.

Featuring five full-colour plates of Cassatt’s paintings, this is a moving and illuminating exploration of the illusive nature of art and desire, memory and mortality, romantic and familial love.

Harriet S. Chessman

Harriet Scott Chessman is the author of five novels, including The Beauty of Ordinary Things, The Lost Sketchbook of Edgar Degas, Someone Not Really Her Mother, Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper, and Ohio Angels.

Her fiction has been translated into seven languages, and featured in The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, NPR’s All Things Considered, Good Morning America, and The Christian Science Monitor.

Harriet also created the libretto for MY LAI, a mono-opera composed by Jonathan Berger and commissioned by Kronos. First performed at Stanford University in 2015 and the Harris Theater in Chicago in 2016, MY LAI became folded into Kronos’s 2017-18 season. It appeared in Singapore, New York City (BAM), University of Iowa, UC Berkeley, and UCLA.

Having received her PhD. in English at Yale University in 1979, Harriet taught at Yale full-time for eleven years. Since 1991, she has taught various courses in English and creative writing at Yale University, Bread Loaf School of English, Wesleyan University’s Graduate Liberal Studies Program, and Stanford University’s Continuing Studies Program. After twelve years in the San Francisco Bay Area, she now lives in Connecticut, and is at work on new fiction and a new libretto.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

Books about Art and Artists

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