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Ron Charles"Keeping the World Away will remind you of two other works you probably enjoyed. The first is Susan Vreeland's Girl in Hyacinth Blue, a lovely novel that traces the ownership of a Vermeer painting from the present day back to the artist's 17th-century home. The other is Virginia's Woolf's "A Room of One's Own," an essay that imagines William Shakespeare's brilliant (and unknown) sister, Judith, and describes the way poverty and prejudice have long denied women the opportunity and the space to write. Forster combines these two themes to produce an exceptionally thoughtful novel based on a painting called "A Corner of the Artist's Room in Paris," by Gwen John (1876-1939). Distinct but interrelated chapters describe each owner of an early draft of this painting, starting with the longest chapter, which describes John's adolescence in England, her eventual move to Paris and her passionate affair with the sculptor Auguste Rodin."
—The Washington Post