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Manet and the Lion Hunter

One of the most eccentric characters you will ever meet – 19th-century strongman Eugene Pertuiset was a media darling of fin de siècle Paris, and the inspiration for one of Edouard Manet paintings that marked a milestone in the history of the modern art movement.


Eugene’s comic misadventures took him from the squalid silver boom towns of South America and the Patagonian wilderness to the richest salons of Paris and the unconventional coterie of bohemian artists and writers.

This biography not only tells his little-known story but also illuminates the times in which he lived. More than 100 illustrations capture Eugene's world and France's turbulent transition to the modern era.

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 [5 stars]    In this delightful romp through nineteenth-century France (and Africa, which is where the lion comes in) Pertuiset tells the story of a wacky eccentric in an age of wacky eccentrics . . . For people who think they don't like history, this is a great way to learn about Victorian-era France without having to worry about dates, names, and peace treaties.

 [5 stars]    OMG this book is fantastic! I devoured it. Elegant, engaging writing and all the things I look for in a book: adventure, vivid characters, travel and history. I love it and recommend it to all my friends.


 [5 stars]    I have read Manet and the Lion Hunter twice. It is incredibly engaging and really unique  like getting into a time machine. Pertuiset weaves her tale around interesting bits of history that makes it come alive. The illustrations and captions are as important as the story. You are truly transported back to another age!

 [5 stars]   This is a fascinating fusion of facts and fiction, humour, history and art that captures the spirit of La Belle Eqoque and the ever-evolving world of art. The writing is clear and unpretentious and tells a good story – brisk action and larger-than-life characters who are still believable.

 [5 stars]    The book expertly combines good research with a compelling narrative, bringing to life the intriguing character of Eugene Pertuiset and his unconventional friendship with Edouard Manet. It offers a fresh historical perspective on various aspects of 19th-century France, including the social fabric, technology, exploration, colonial exploitation, remarkable individuals, and the modern art movement. Despite its depth, the book remains engaging and accessible and quite amusing. With surprising twists and a vibrant cast of characters, Simone Pertuiset offers a delightful glimpse of the cultural scene and the tumultuous transition of the modern art movement. Seen through the eyes of someone on the outside looking in and complemented by fascinating illustrations, it’s a satisfying read for history and art enthusiasts both.


 [5 stars]    I am thrilled. Really. Growing up in an artistic environment in Poland, I devoured biographies of artists from the fin de siècle in Paris, and eventually, I had the chance to experience Paris myself. The author captured the vibes, bringing back decades-old memories of my youth as I arrived in that great city, unsure of the next step but in awe as I lingered in neighborhoods where echoes of passionate discussions still hung in the air, the aroma of coffee wafted from smoky cafes, and at a time where the rebellious energy of a generation challenging societal norms was still palpable. The book immersed me in Manet's world, expanding my knowledge, deepening my appreciation for him, and showing a side of his character that I did not know. The part about Algeria resonated with me deeply as well. I spent there five incredible years, exploring its landscapes and desert with my family. The author perfectly portrayed the fading remnants of old Algeria, still carrying memories of the colonial era. 

                   This book is surprisingly fast-paced despite packing a rich blend of story, atmosphere, information, adventures, and human interactions. The descriptions and dialogues were well-written and purposeful and kept me hooked. The pictures, photographs, and written documentation were like stumbling onto a treasure trove and a vivid chronicle of that time. It effortlessly transported me to another era with its immersive historical perspective, larger-than-life characters, and a rarely-told story.

 [5 stars]    . . . Engaging, not only because of the central character, Eugene, but also because the author provides several informative side trips. She has researched her ancestor, Eugene Pertuiset, with all the resources available, including Eugene's relationship with Edouard Manet, whose portrait of Eugene (in the Sao Paulo Museum in Brazil) is featured on the book cover. The book is part biography and part historical fiction, blended with an analysis of the politics and interests at play 1833 to 1896, located mainly in France with connections and experiences in Africa, South America and Russia. 

 [5 stars]    This is a very interesting read about the bohemian world of La Belle Époque. The author has done amazing amount of research about Manet and the Lion Hunter. The story points to the relationship of the relatively unknown Eugene Pertuiset and Edouard Manet, Eugene to be a remarkable character whose influence on the painter marked a turning point in the history of modern art.  Extremely well written and very engaging reading. Highly recommended.

 [5 stars]    Pertuiset brings her research skills to tell this colourful, little-known piece of art history. It is a very entertaining story, based on the history of one of her notable ancestors, and buoyed by asides illuminating the history of the period.

 [5 stars]    A rollicking and engaging tale of an adventurer who travelled to many countries while also deeply drawn to the art world of 19th century France. Vignettes of art history and politics scattered throughout the book brought a sense of realism to this fictionalized but based on a true story account. Beautifully and elegantly written, Pertuiset tells the tale of her ancestor Eugene Pertuiset. The book cover depicts an actual portrait painted of him by Manet who figures prominently in the story. Hard to put down! I could easily see this as a film, too!

A novel based on the memoirs of Eugene Pertuiset, the lion hunter and adventurer, who took Paris by storm during la Belle Epoque and was the subject of Manet's famous painting

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