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Cathy Marie Buchanan on 'The Painted Girls'
In “The Painted Girls,” a carefully researched, deeply imagined historical novel by Canadian writer Cathy Marie Buchanan, the Belle Époque comes to vibrant, often aching life. It follows two real-life destitute sisters, Marie and Antoinette van Goethem, who are forced to turn to the then-none-too-reputable ballet training program at the Paris Opera to scratch out a meager living in the 1870s and '80s. Antoinette, older and prettier but less artistically gifted, becomes involved with a rough-hewn teenager destined for a life of crime.
By Kevin Nance
February 1, 2013