This is a wonderful book. It spans the time of one summer season, while Renoir races against time to complete his huge canvas, while the summer light lingers over the river and the terrace restaurant, where his cast of 14 models gathers every Sunday for lunch and posing. Each person in the painting becomes a three dimensional character as we learn about their lives and loves. Also captured is a delightful sense of the countryside outside Paris and the artist studios and haunts of Montmartre. I was privileged to view this monumental painting several years ago when it made a visit to the LA County Museum of Art. It's size impresses, as does the individuality of each figure. Reading the book I felt totally immersed in the 1880's French art scene. One suggestion - when you read it, find a good sized print of the painting and keep it with you, you will want to keep referring to it to remember who's who and check details.