I only first read Letters to a Young Poet earlier this year, but I was already familiar with Rilke and his relationship with Auguste Rodin. This book tells the individual stories of how each rose to fame and of their decades long relationship that touched off when Rilke was hired to write a monograph on the famous French sculptor.
The book is a very thorough biography of each of the two artists, but what struck me about it was the behind-the-scenes look the cost of putting work above all else in one's life. As it turns out, both Rodin and Rilke were irresponsible dicks who took advantage of most of the women in their lives, and refused take part in raising (or being financially responsible for) their children.
If you are a fan of Rilke or Rodin this is a great great read.