Synopses & Reviews
"Franco, the author of more 80 children's books, re-tells the tragic history of famed sculptor August Rodin's artistic muse, Camille Claudel (1864-1943), in a bittersweet modern fable more reminiscent of the recent Woody Allen film, Midnight in Paris, than of the earlier French drama, Camille Claudel. After California teenager Jesse Lucas touches a sculpture in the Stanford University Rodin Garden one evening in 2008 on his way to his performance art summer school class, the spirit of Claudel emerges from the statue in the form of a naked 18-year-old girl who calls herself Cat. In alternating chapters, Jesse and Cat narrate their intertwining stories, while grappling with both internal and external demons. For Jesse, it's his abusive and alcoholic father; for Cat, it's the memories of an all-consuming love affair with Rodin that ended in heartbreak and psychosis when he refused to leave another woman for her. While Jesse and time-traveling Cat's relationship is doomed, the two help each other reconcile with the past and let go of the anger that threatens to consume each of them. Described as Franco's debut adult novel, this magical tale of angst-ridden teenagers confronting adulthood in a plot that's a seamless blend of fiction, biography, and contemporary culture is bound to cross over into the young adult and new adult realms. Agent: Amy Rennert, Amy Rennert Literary Agency. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
When Jesse Lucas, a troubled, magnetic acting major, touches the sculpture Meditation in Stanford's Rodin Sculpture Garden, he burns his finger on the bronze. By the time he returns to the garden that night, an eighteen-year-old girl has emerged from the statue, naked and disoriented. It is 2008, yet her mind is swimming with vivid, fractured memories of her volatile past in nineteenth-century Paris--of serving as Rodin's muse, of her passionate affair with the acclaimed artist, and of her own creations.
So begins Betsy Franco's extraordinary and imaginative novel, Naked. Stranded in the sculpture garden, Camille--or Cat, as she insists on being called--forms a deep bond with Jesse, who is soon leaving for college and is as lonely and disturbed as she. As Jesse encourages Cat to confront the sinister memories that afflict her, she helps him overcome the fury he has toward his abusive father and find peace within himself.
Rich, inventive, and told with a compelling mix of grace and wry humor, Naked is a bold debut that explores love, loss, and the power of art, and brings to mind the magical realism found in The Time Traveler's Wife and Midnight in Paris.