“There’s nothing like a good story to grip a reader, and Milgrom’s own tale of witnessing and emulating Gustave Courbet’s L’Origine du monde is the perfect way to get into—and attempt to understand—this infamous masterpiece. Highly recommended for art history aficionados, Francophiles, history and biography fans, and readers eager to glimpse the fascinating world beyond the frame.”
Podcast host of ArtCurious and author of ArtCurious: Stories of the Unexpected, Slightly Odd, and Strangely Wonderful in Art History
What a gorgeous, captivating novel: a tour de force! Who knew that a painting’s provenance could make for such a profoundly moving and thought-provoking page-turner; I couldn’t read fast enough and at the same time didn’t want to reach the end. Milgrom has written a masterpiece worthy of the iconic Gustave Courbet painting that lies at the heart of L’Origine.
Author of the award-winning novel, This Is How It Begins.
"L’Origine got me hooked - what a story! Milgrom brings the reader right along with her on her adventures as the copyist of one of the most well-known paintings in all of France and maybe even the world. It's not one more of these books about people coming to France and fixing up an old farmhouse.... "
HARRIET WELTY ROCHEFORT
Author of "French Fried, "French Toast", and "Joie de Vivre"
“L'Origine is immediately engaging and an amazingly fresh story about such a famous painting."
Founder, Dartfrog Books
Lilianne Milgrom has produced a vivid and well-told novel that tells the story of one of the more notorious paintings in the history of art. Immaculately researched and full of verve, the book is a real achievement, one which I read it with fascination and admiration. Milgrom's story of Courbet's masterpiece is prefaced with a tale of her own: how she spent several weeks in the Musee D'Orsay making a painted copy of Courbet's original L'Origine du monde painting, under the curious and sometimes lascivious eye of other museum goers.
CHRISTOPHER P. JONES
Art historian and author, UK
"Throughout history, female sexuality has been regarded as ugly, repulsive, and shameful while simultaneously revered to the point of idolization. Lilianne Milgrom's intimate experience with Gustave Courbet's scandalous painting gives testament to the classic divide of women's cultural representation.”
DR. BELLA ELWOOD-CLAYTON
Sexual anthropologist, author and TED talk presenter.
L’Origine is, indeed, an apt title for Lilianne Milgrom’s debut novel, since it is the painting itself—L’Origine du Monde—that is the heroine of this vividly-written, well-researched, and highly compelling book. Part historical fiction, part personal journey, L’Origine tells the story of “the world’s most erotic masterpiece” and its effect on those who tried to capture it, in one way or another—including Milgrom herself. The notorious little painting is, above all, a survivor. Its page-turning odyssey, told in richly textured prose, is an original story well-worth reading.
BARBARA LINN PROBST, award-winning author of
Queen of the Owls: A Novel
L'Origine weaves two extraordinary stories together, breathing new life into a such a powerful artwork. What I loved most was how the painting entranced the author from the moment she saw it, just as it entranced its various owners over the centuries.
The prologue is a fabulous piece of writing and sets the scene for a journey of self discovery and passion for a painting that has captivated collectors for centuries. Weaving the story of L’Origine's journey from the point of view of its various owners was inspired.
KATE BEVIS, writer, Melbourne, Australia