Eva Figes was an English author. Figes wrote novels, literary criticism, studies of feminism, and Figes’ novel, Light, is an impressionistic portrait of a single day in the life of Claude Monet from sunrise to sunset. Her best known work is. A day in the life–and the light–of the aging (but still far from aged) Claude Monet. Figes (Waking) builds this impressionistic, rather studied. Complete summary of Eva Figes’ Light. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of Light.

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Like Wakingthis second novel is slim and beautifully written.

LIGHT by Eva Figes | Kirkus Reviews

In it, we follow Claude Monet and members of his household through a single day, moving seamlessly from one to another. Each has their own concerns, their own fears and griefs. The children are accorded equal space and value in this account with the adults. Marthe, Germaine, Jean-Pierre, and Michel; and friends of his who drop by in the afternoon.

An even more important character is the garden itself, the viges in Giverny that Claude has created—or had created—with an eye to light dva shade and how they would change throughout the day.


His eyes took in, for perhaps the thousandth time, the contours of the space he had shaped.


Yes, he thought, he had got it about right, the curve of the pond running inward towards the bridge with its reflected arc, two curved spans meeting, the dark mass of bamboo for emphasis, giving it just enough density, pinning it down so that it would not float into the sky along with flges fragile column of trees beyond.

But for me, I confess, the water lilies have never lost their allure. I remember first seeing the water lilies in, Figee think, when they were on display in their own room in the New York Museum of Modern Art, if I remember correctly. My friends and I sat entranced for ages, encircled by these massive paintings.

Years later, I began reading compulsively about World War I. I found references to it turning up unexpectedly.

Tolkien served in that war, including the Battle of the Somme. That experience of the flooded trenches where the unburied dead sometimes surfaced in the mud, surely led to his image of the Dead Marshes in the Lord of the Rings, where Frodo gazes into the water and sees the dead looking back at him.

Monet began painting the water lilies and the weeping figee in lignt a response to the war, whose guns sometimes sounded no more than 50 kilometers away. They are also a tribute to the fallen French soldiers.

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Gazing into the water, seeing at once its surface and its depths, as well as the reflections of willow fronds and sky, the paintings disorient me even as they absorb me. I sometimes see ghosts beyond the lilies and reflections, ghosts of the dead, yes, but more often of the peaceful summer afternoons before everything changed.

Thanks to these paintings I am more aware of the shades and shadows that inhabit the things of my world, their whispered history, no more than a sigh lifting a tender vine. Thanks to Figes I am lignt aware of their patterns of light and darkness, their colors.

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