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Camille Claudel: A Novel
Alma H. Bond

 

An Interview by

Sandra Heptinstall
Wispering Winds Book Reviews (July 2008)

 

Ah, the summer is on the downhill slide now. My summer writing project is ending next week and Correna, my assistant, is getting ready to start college. You can actually tell that it is getting darker just a little bit earlier. But never fear, the Summer Great Book Giveaway continues!
I still need to hear from last week's winner so I can send your book to you! If I don't hear from S.H. by next week, I'll draw another winner.
Today, I have Alma H. Bond talking about writing her book, "Camille Claudel, a novel." Alma took an interesting and unique approach writing about a real person by not writing a biography, but instead turning into a novel.
Read how Alma's research was affected in her decision and why she decided to write a fictional novel rather than a biography. How do you win a book? It's easy. Just click on "comments" before 5 p.m. CST today and ask Alma a writing question. You don't even need an id, or to even sign in. However, I do ask that you leave your first name in case you win. It's a little difficult to send a book to "anonymous." If I randomly draw yours, Alma will answer your question and you'll win the book!
 

Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a psychoanalyst who retired from a flourishing Manhattan private practice to write full time. Since then I have had 15 books published. I am the mother of three and the grandmother of seven, with a new one coming along in Sept.
2. Let’s hear about your book, “Camille Claudel: A Novel.”
Here is some PR that was sent out by Major about the book:

Women of the 1800s were often seen as second-class or rejected in the business world, and especially in the artist world. But, very rarely do the stories in history books expose the severe impact on the women of that day. Author Alma H. Bond's new book "Camille Claudel, a Novel" offers a close look into the heart of a woman who aspired to be an artist during the 1800s, but was ultimately rejected despite her amazing talents.

You must have conducted quite a bit of research for this novel. Did you encounter any difficulties in finding the truth of the events in Claudel’s life and was this the reason you chose to do a novel rather than a non-fiction biography? Not too much is known about her. I read everything I could find about her in both English and French, and visited her home town where she lived and the asylum where she died.

Did your background as a psychoanalyst make a difference in your research and writing? Was it beneficial?
It makes a tremendous difference to everything I write. I believe it distinguishes me from my honored literary colleagues. I try to hide the psychological truth in words that a layman can understand.

Why did you choose to narrate from Claudel’s point of view?
I thought I can best demonstrate in her voice what went on in her emotions.

As a female writer, have you ever encountered a situation similar to that which Claudel dealt with in a male-dominated world? Do you think this is still an issue in the 21st century?
As a young psychoanalyst I found it much more difficult to start my practice than men of similar education and ability. Once it began, however, it flourished, until I earned more than any other female analyst I knew.

Having written 15 books, do you find it easier to get books published and noticed?
I get reviewed easier, but it is still difficult to find publishers. Although many talented writers cannot get published at all.

What did you do to promote your novel?
I sent out postcards to every list of sculptors I could find, as well as to many artists. I checked out their websites, and personally contacted any I thought sculpted like Camille Claudel. I advertised in many newspapers, including the NYTimes, and in art magazines, and sent out at least 50 review copies of the book.

What advice do you have for authors preparing to promote their books? The marketing is at least as important as the writing. What good is your masterpiece, if no one but your mother knows about it?

What's next for you?
I am presently writing a biography of Jacqueline Kennnedy Onassis.
My book, Margaret Mahler: A Biography of the Psychoanalyst was just published by McFarland Press.

Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell, ASJA, SEJ
Writer/Author

 

 

New Reviews as of February 14, 2008

 

 

heptinstalls, February 14, 2008
When pen meets paper our mind can take over and lead us into unknown places. The same is said of Camille Claudel, except for her it was a piece of clay or marble.This book is a work of art in itself. Dr.Bond gives us a psychological insight into the depth and understanding of the heart, mind and soul of Camille. We also see the in-securites Camille had because of a leg that was shorter than the other. Camille had a limp when she walked, and was always laughed at in school by the other children. One day her brother Paul came to her defense, and fought with another boy because of what was said. After that the kids never made fun of her again, but in the dark resources of her mind she always saw people laughing or talking about her.

The book begins with Camille telling her life story in the confines of an insane asylum where she has lived for the past 30 years. She wanted to leave a message for women in the future about her struggles as a sculptor. The torment, presecution,prejudice and unfair treatment, all because of the male dominated artist community. This book is a work of fiction but backed by historical facts.

When Camille was a young girl her Papa saw her playing in the mud making figures. He walked over and looked at what she was doing. Then with tears in his eyes he told her they were really good. Camille had captured the soul of her Papa in a piece of mud. He told her he would try and get her some clay. If Camille did as well with clay as she did with mud he would take both Camille and her figures, and show them to Alfred Boucher, the famous sculptor in Nogent-sur-Sein. Her Papa was the only constant in her life. He believed deeply in his daughters talents, and did all he could to help her until the time of his death.

Camille's Maman (mother) did not like her. She was still mourning the death of her first child, a son, who had died only fifteen days after his birth. When Camille was born she was never given the nurturing of a mother's love. Two years later her brother Paul was born. He brought great joy to his Maman, and Camille loved him dearly. Then came Louise of whom Camille hated. As Camille and Paul began to grow they had a relationship bordering on incest. The relationship haunted Paul for many years, but he still loved his sister. Louise was the perfect, beautiful, daughter Maman had always wanted. Camille was never allowd to touch or hug her Maman. She was told; "You don't deserve to be in this distinguished family because you are a violent, visious child. She was at fault for all the fights that took place in the family." No matter who was fighting, her Maman blamed Camille for every thing.

Camilee's Papa kept his word, and took both Camille and her figures to meet Alfred Boucher. Boucher could see the work of a future genius. He told them about a famous school in Paris. The only problem was they charged twice the cost for a female student than a male. Both Camille and her Papa were outraged. The unfairness of it was something Camille would never forget.

Boucher mentioned another school that accepted both male and female students. Camille enrolled but was soon frustrated. The work neither challenged her, or taught her how to bring to life the feelings she had inside of her. Finally Brocher brought her into his atelier (studio) as another apprentice. Camille began to come alive under his instruction. Her arms would ache by the time she finished for the day, but she did not care. All that mattered to her was her drive to be a sculptor. One day Boucher told his apprentices he had to go away; but they were not to worry as he had other sculptors that would come and help them while he was gone.

One day Agusta Rodin came in. He was considered to be one of the greatest sculptors of all time. As he would walk around and talk to the students he seemed to spend more time with Camille than the others. As time went on his hand would stay a little longer on her arm. Or brush across her breast as he was showing her something.

He considered her work to be brilliant. He invited Camille to become the first female apprentice he had ever had. Even thought he was a married man he wanted Camille as his mistress. She fought the feelings he created inside of her. She even went away for awhile. But she dreamed at night only of him. She imagined how it would feel to be held and loved by him. She had fantasies about them making love. In the end she returned to Paris and became his mistress. For ten years her life was full of laughter, play, work and sexuality. Some days they worked and others were spent making love. At times they forgot who had sculpted what. Their talents were so alike it was hard for anyone to tell who did what.

When the author describes the feelings Camille felt as she worked the clay, I wanted to buy some clay and feel it in my hands. I wanted to kneed it and roll it around in my palm. That is how powerful this story is.

Eventually Camille wanted more from Rodin. She wanted to marry him. He would always put her off saying maybe next spring etc. She had the feeling that Rodin was cheating on her. But she chose to over look it. One day she went to him and said they had to get married because she was pregnant. He flew into a rage and threw some money at her and said get rid of it. It was at that moment she knew he no longer loved her. She doubted if he ever had. She got the abortion and with the help of her Papa found a small apartment and moved out. She brought all the stuff that she could with her when she moved. When she went back to retrieve the rest, Camille found out that Rodin had sold her art and claimed it was his work.

That was the beginning of Camille's spiral fall into madness. No one would believe the work she claimed as her own. She got a few commissions from friends and it would help to pay the rent and buy some food. Then she received request from France to do some work. But they never payed like they said they would. They would give her a small amount of money but then she had to fight them for the rest. She was starving and found herself one night going through people's garbage trying to find something to eat. She fell into a deep depression. Camille became paranoid that Rodin was behind everything that was happening to her. Her hatred towards him grew deeper as each day passed. Camille would hide the sculptures she had made as she knew that Rodin had hired someone to steal her art. She boarded up her little apartment to make sure no one could get in and steal her work. She stayed inside and only went out at night to find food. She was filthy and her hair was matted. She lived with her cats and almost never saw another person.

Camille could no longer realize what was fact or what was fiction. One night there was a knock on her door. She refused to answer it. The next thing she knew the door was broken open and she was being taken to the asylum.

There is so much passion in this book, that I will never look at a piece of art again, and not think of Camille. Thank you Dr. Bond---you have opened my eyes to a whole new world.

 

 

 

Reviews

By New Great Book

http://newgreatbooks.blogspot.com

Friday, November 23, 2007

Novel Explores Dark Side of Rodin's Life: Camille Claudel is an Enthralling Read

 

Camille Claudel: A Novel

Alma H. Bond, psychoanalyst-turned-author, offers the reader a beautiful, yet highly disturbing portrait of Camille Claudel, the gifted French sculptress from the late 1800s who was mistress to famous sculptor Auguste Rodin in her latest novel. Told in the form of a memoir, Camille pens her life from her early childhood to her very last days, giving a grim glimpse of her love/hate relationship with her mother, her love, edging on incest, to her younger brother, her struggle with the male-dominated artistic establishments of the time, and her turbulent, obsessive, destructive affair with Rodin, who was a married man.

Beginning with Camille, now a very old woman who has survived decades of involuntary incarceration in a lunatic asylum in the French countryside, remembering the first time she fashioned a family out of garden mud and how those figurines so impressed her father that he swore lifelong support, this story is engrossing to the end. Though Bond's research on Claudel's early years is impressive, her writing is at its best and most authoritative when she describes Camille's slow and painful descent into madness. Bond, herself a psychoanalyst, describes a surprisingly fragile psyche traumatized by her inability to accept Rodin's choices and the increasingly intense paranoia that led her to believe that Rodin was persecuting her even after his death. Complicated by a painful relationship with her mother and a possibly incestuous relationship with her brother, the story carries the reader as Camille slips deeper and deeper into self-destruction until she is removed to an asylum where she remains for thirty years.

Camille Claudel: A Novel is a beautifully written book that seizes the reader's mind and heart. Readers who have never heard of Camille Claudel will, upon finishing this book, seek to learn more about this wonderfully gifted artist and her work.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Computer Times
September 2006

Editor's Choice Book

Camille Claudel: A Novel

Reviewed by Angie Kibiloski

 

Camille Claudel: A Novel (Retail $19.95), written by Alma H. Bond, is a fictionalized biography, written in the form of Camille's own memoirs. The truth is that Camille Claudel was a female artist who had to deal with the very male dominated field of art in the late 19th century. She created beautiful sculptures, had a lengthy love affair with the sculptor Auguste Rodin, and ended her life confined to a mental asylum in France. The novel takes these facts and expands upon them to paint a picture of who Camille was, who she loved, what inspired her, and how she devolved into a weakened mental state.

Camille is a character who has true depth of feeling, and is easy to relate to. You'll be drawn in to her thoughts and her world, and become a part of her very quickly. And when she begins to lose herself to her mind, the change is written so delicately that you will be well on the way to the asylum before you even realize that you are living in unreality. Alma Bond has done a masterful job of capturing this sympathetic artist on the page, and giving her the life and recognition that she has been due. Camille Claudel: A Novel was a genuine pleasure to read, and I was sincerely sorry when the last page was turned. I could have lived with Camille for many more chapters. Absolutely brilliant.

 

For autographed copy at no extra charge send check for $16.95 plus $4.05 S&H, name, address, and desired inscription to Dr. Alma H. Bond, 34 w. 11th St., Ground Floor,  NY, NY 10011, or email Dr. Bond at almahb@aol.com

 

 

 

 

Camille Claudel, an old lady confined to the Asylum for the Insane in Montdevergues, France, reviews her life. She says, “I hope my memoir will illustrate the heights of passion Rodin and I reached, and unravel the mystery of why they were transformed into vinegar and ashes.”

The tragedy is not only hers, she adds, but that of many female artists who found it impossible to achieve the success of men artists of lesser ability.

The book illuminates her childhood and the rise of her career in the setting of her ecstatic life with Rodin. Their ten years of bliss are followed by the disintegration of her love for him, and its evolution into hatred and psychosis.

The last third of the book describes the horrors of Claudel’s life in the asylum, ending with the highly original manner in which she comes to terms psychologically with Rodin and the other important figures in her life.

 

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ABOUT CAMILLE  CLAUDEL, A NOVEL                                                                                                 

    

 By Alma H. Bond, Ph.D.

 

Camille Claudel, a Novel describes real-life events behind a façade of fiction. Camille Claudel was a great female sculptor whose produced most of her work in the late 1800's. She was a fascinating woman not only because of her genius, but because she was the student, lover, and confidant of Auguste Rodin. Because of her rejection by Rodin, her terrible relationship with her mother, and the insurmountable conditions women artists faced in the last century, she became insane and spent the last thirty years of her life in a mental institution. The book describes a magnificent love story in all its details, as well as a history of the lack of recognition faced by women artists at that time. Because Dr. Bond is a well known psychoanalyst, she is uniquely qualified to understand the origin and development of Camille’s mental illness. As she also is an experienced writer and the author of 12 previously published books (website: http://alma_bond.tripod.com/), she is able to tell Mlle. Claudel's story in an intriguing and informative manner.

 

The book follows the life of Mlle. Claudel from her birth to her death. Excellent characterizations are given of her unloving mother, caring father, the brilliant brother who was her best friend and became the great playwright and poet, Paul Claudel, and the important doctor in the asylum, who almost succeeded in making Camille well. The book ends with Camille making peace with all the important figures in her life, and casts a final surprising light upon her relationship with Rodin.

 

What was it like to be a great unrecognized sculptor who is the mistress of the most famous sculptor of the times? What was it like for Camille to become obsessed with a married man? A creative genius in her own right, she sculpted masterpieces between love-making sessions with the older, married man who ultimately refused to leave his wife. This is an age-old tale of infidelity, told through the eyes of the young mistress, a story of anguish so great that it both fueled her creative genius and drove her to insanity. Most of the small amount of published work on Claudel is in French, and only two books are in English. Nothing has been done in the United States to rival the hugely popular French film, Camille. Camille Claudel, a Novel brings this juicy story of love, infidelity, and creative genius to America and the hearts of our countrymen.

 

 

 

                                Earlier Praise for Camille Claudel, a Novel

 

 

Psychoanalyst Dr. Alma Bond knows how to get inside people’s minds, & in this fictional reminiscence, she recreates the passionate life & times of one of the most powerful artists of the early 20th century, who became the revered Rodin’s apprentice & mistress. As with The Autobiography of Maria Callas: A Novel, Dr. Bond has breathed fresh life into a forgotten story.

Dr. Bond is a giant in her field of brilliance, & has written a fascinating memoir of what drove one woman to break through the glass ceiling in a world ruled by men.– Rebecca Brown, publisher and editor-in-chief of Rebeccasreads.com

 

A rave review for Dr. Alma H. Bond’s brilliant new novel, Camille Claudel, A Novel. Dr. Bond gives us an intriguing account of the juicy affair between the young, innocent Camille (a budding and genius sculptor in her own right) and the older distinguished and very married Auguste Rodin. We are treated to their love affair as well as a glimpse at her early years, her rejection by Rodin and ultimate decent into madness and life in an insane asylum. Dr. Bond’s psychological twist on this age-old story makes this beautifully written novel a read that is truly impossible to put down. Bravo!  –Janet Brill, Ph.D., instructor University of Miami, author of CholesterolDown.

 

Dr. Bond has written a tour de force! Camille Claudel, A Novel is a beautifully sculpted work, filled with appreciation, insight and craft.” –Feather Schwartz Foster, author of LADIES: A Conjecture of Personalities and Garfield’s Train.

 

As a woman sculptor, I feel an overwhelming connection to Camille Claudel. The shared passion for all things related to sculpture, the smell of the clay, the fingering of the tolls, the movement of the muscle, the push and pull of the medium, the power to extract the truth and soul from a lump of clay or a piece of stone, the sheer physical exhaustion that is part of the work. Claudel believed that sculptures of women would be best done by women, because of the deeper understanding of our emotions, sensibilities and soul. I too believe this. Camille Claudel was a sculptor of genius. Alma Bond, in this book, sheds an unforgettable light on a truly deserving Claudel. – Maria Trapani, award-wining sculptor.

 

Alma Bond has done it again! Another passionate love story of two illustrious artists, Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel, one whose life ended in glory, the other in madness. Combining meticulous research with finely honed analytical skills, the author immerses herself in her subject, leading the reader through the development of an artist from childhood; her emotional and artistic life as a woman; and into the creative process itself. Dr. Bond takes an imaginative leap into the life, mind and work of a woman sculptor and restores Claudel to her rightful place in art history.

Mimi Weisbord, artist and writer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excerpt from Camille Claudell, a Novel

 

Somehow I gradually was able to overlook Maman’s morality and to

ignore my fear of closeness enough to risk the loss of the me in me and

submerge myself in Rodin. And why not, since he was what I had wanted

since I was five years old? My childhood dream of being carried off by a

great artist” had come to pass and I never was happier or more

productive in my life. For a while, a little while, Rodin and I were able to

stop yearning and to immerse ourselves in each other and our work.

 

For they were the same thing; our work was our love and our love was

our work. There was no difference between love time and work time, so

easily did one flow into the other. He would come over to check out a

pose I was modeling for him. Since he couldn’t see well, he would have

to touch my body from head to foot. Naturally, he began to caress me.

Our ecstasy was carried to the sculpture he was working on, so that the

fingers that embraced me became the fingers that enveloped the statue.

Over and over he moved from me to the sculpture, and back from the

sculpture to me. The smells of our bodies hovered over the embracing

couple and I swear remain there still. And as he savagely kissed my bruised

lips, the secretions of love melted into the clay of The Kiss.

 

One after another masterpiece poured out of our union, so that it’s

often difficult to tell which of us had done the sculpting. We used the

same model and the same pose for his statues of Galatée and Cybèle and

mine of Jeune fille à la gerbe (Young girl with a sheath), and they look as if

they were created by the same person. I’m sure that some of the pieces

signed by him were sculpted by me and a few of the works credited to me

were created by him. Or maybe by both of us together. I worked as much

on The Gates of Hell as he did, and would be hard-pressed to say where his

contributions ended and mine began. What I had been afraid of had

actually happened, he really had taken over my work and I no longer cared

which of us got the fame and the money. It was as if we were one person.

His work or mine, his fame or mine, what difference did it make?

 

One night we were sleeping together and our arms and legs were

intertwined so that I couldn’t tell which limbs were his and which were

mine. It scared me not to know which arms belonged to me and which

legs to him, so I started to move away. Then I sleepily thought, “What

does it matter whose arms and legs they are? Who cares if I’m Camille

Rodin and/or he is Auguste Claudel? It’s all the same to me.” We slept the

whole night in that position without moving once. When I woke up we

were still entwined. It was very gentle and very lovely.

 

The next night I dreamed I was encased in a statue of Rodin’s. I think

it was La Pensée (The Thought), but in the dream I was completely engulfed

by the marble. I struggled to breath, but couldn’t. I woke up screaming.


 

Latest Review Camille Claudel: A Novel

Reviewed by Evelyn Sears, Ph.D.

 

 

The story of Camille Claudel is the story of a woman born ahead of her time, a female genius for whom the world was not ready, a woman who attained heights of artistic ecstasy and endured acute personal and mental agony.

 

Camille Claudel was born on December 8, 1864 in a village in northern France, the eldest of three surviving children (her elder brother died when merely fifteen days old).  As a child, she enjoyed warm relations with her father and brother, but her relations with her mother and sister were distant and cold.  Claudel’s fascination with art began when, as a young child, she sculpted figures from stones and mud.  Having moved with her family to Paris as a teenager, Claudel began studying with Auguste Rodin in 1884, at the age of nineteen.  Her tumultuous relationship with Rodin shaped the remainder of Claudel’s life.

 

Claudel quickly became Rodin’s inspiration and served as the model for many of his sculptures. She also became one of his principal assistants whose work on many detailed portions of his sculptures was invaluable.  Most significantly for Claudel, in spite of the fact that he was a married man more than twenty years her senior, she became Rodin’s lover.  After nearly a decade of intimacy, and at least one pregnancy that ended in either miscarriage or abortion, Claudel finally realized that Rodin would never marry her and severed their intimate relationship.  Soon thereafter, Claudel stopped working in Rodin’s atelier, though she continued to see Rodin in professional capacities for several more years.

 

From 1884 until the early 1900s, Claudel was an expressive sculptor whose style grew more distinct from Rodin’s following the breakup of their relationship and her departure from Rodin’s studio.  Dozens of her works are still displayed and admired in museums around the world.  Her achievements are particularly noteworthy when one considers the amount of time she spent assisting Rodin’s career in her roles as his model and assistant.  Claudel was close friends with Claude Debussy, whom she greatly admired.  Sadly for both of them, however, she did not love Debussy with the passion she felt for Rodin. 

 

Although Claudel’s precarious mental state began manifesting itself around 1905, it is unclear when her decline began.  Claudel locked herself away for long periods of time, created and destroyed numerous sculptures, acquired a houseful of cats to be her companions, let her property and house rot around her and took no care of her physical condition and appearance.  She who had once been a beautiful woman became, prematurely, a hag, convinced that a jealous Rodin was trying to steal her works and impede her career. 

 

There were many factors that probably contributed to Claudel’s mental decline.  Her failed relationship with Rodin and the loss of her child (particularly if she was compelled against her will to have an abortion) were likely contributing factors.  The dysfunctional relations within her family also may have contributed to Claudel’s decline.  Her father was the only family member who supported her, her brother tolerated her, and her mother and sister outright rejected her.  The rigors of being an independent female artist in a male-dominated world certainly had negative effects on Claudel.  Her life was a never-ending struggle to acquire commissions, sell her works and attain the professional status she believed (rightly, as it turned out) she deserved.  Rodin, Claudel’s mentor, enjoyed degrees of fame, success and prestige that Claudel never attained.  While he prospered, she nearly starved.  Unable to support herself, Claudel remained financially dependent upon her father until his death in 1913.  Eight days after their father’s death, Claudel’s brother committed her to an asylum..

 

Claudel spent the last thirty years of her life in an asylum in the mountains of southern France.  Her mother and sister never visited her and her brother visited intermittently, approximately a half-dozen times in 30 years.  After several years of treatment, Claudel’s psychiatrist suggested that her family should take her home and reintegrate her into their home and society.  They did not take up his suggestion.  Since her family had no interest in resuming relations with Claudel, she remained institutionalized until her death on October 19, 1943, at the age of 79.

 

Alma H. Bond, a psychoanalyst, has written a compelling account of Claudel’s tragic life.  She presents the story as a memoir written by Claudel in the final days of her life.  Although the broad outlines of the story are true, Bond has taken liberties in setting scenes, providing dialog, and revealing Claudel’s purported thought processes and interpretations.  Bond states clearly that hers is a fictional account, simply one plausible view of Claudel’s life; it should not be read as a definitive biographical or historical work.  Nevertheless, Bond reveals the heartbreak of a gifted woman working in a society that rejects her personally and pays scant attention to her artwork.  Bond lifts the veil on the heartbreak of an impressionable, sensitive young woman betrayed by an older lover.  Bond discloses the family dysfunctions that remained hidden from view, or ignored, even when they resulted in gross injustices.  Clearly, even though the work is fictional, it offers a compelling, accurate glimpse at the broad characteristics of an era.

 

Bond’s most extraordinary feat is the way she portrays Claudel’s subtly deteriorating mental state.  Early signs of paranoia are evident from the outset in Claudel’s descriptions of her childhood home.  During Claudel’s happiest period, the height of her romance with Rodin, the paranoid tendencies disappear from view.  After her breakup with Rodin, the paranoid tendencies resurface slowly and build gradually until Claudel’s institutionalization in 1913.  In an accurate depiction of mental illness, Bond balances Claudel’s periods of lunacy and lucidity.  Sometimes, the reader is uncertain whether Claudel’s viewpoint is delusional or uncannily insightful.  Bond understands mental illness and she presents it masterfully.

 

Camille Claudel: A Novel is a beautifully written book that seizes the reader’s mind and heart. Readers who have never heard of Camille Claudel will, upon finishing this book, seek to learn more about this wonderfully gifted artist and her work.  This book, notwithstanding the fact that it is fiction, should be required reading for all students in women’s studies and art history.

 

 ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Dear Dr. Bond;
My name is Rebekah Van Westerhuyzen, I am 32 years old today, I live in Aliso Viejo, California...But that's not where it began....
It began one day when a friend of mine had an extra ticket to the art exhibit in Laguna Beach, California...the exhibit is world renowned and called the Pageant of the Masters.
If you are not familiar, it is basically famous works of art replicated by live humans.
Sitting there enjoying the awe under the stars...low and behold a statute came out to the left side of the stage....it was a very real and very alive replica of Camille Claudel's 'L'Age mûr'....having never been introduced to her...immediately I understood and completely identified. The unrequited love this woman...Camille had towards another...Rodin...tears fell from my eyes. That statue sang a very sad song.
I did some research on this brilliant Camille Claudel who so affected my heart and read everything at least in English that I could get my hands on.
Finally...your book!!!
You made her so real for me! I feel comforted that I am not the only "crazy" one. I relate to her before anything! For this...I am truly grateful...for this...I feel like I can get through each day knowing that I am or have not been the only one.
So you see...today is my birthday...and I am here alone on my computer...and the greatest gift of my whole life is Camille, your book and being able to write to you Dr. Bond! Thank you!
Thank you for putting the pieces of Camille's life together...making her the most real...making her the most loved. I believe Dr. that you have given me the gift of Camille's character and I truly admire your imagination...your gift has become my treasure!!!
Sincerely,
Rebekah

Do we have notice on the website of this award to the Claudel book? Please highlight it.

Computer Times
September 2006