Versailles

by Davis, Kathryn, 1946-

Format: Print Book 2002
Availability: Available at 2 Libraries 2 of 2 copies
Available (2)
Location Collection Call #
Northland Public Library Fiction FIC DAV
Location  Northland Public Library
 
Collection  Fiction
 
Call Number  FIC DAV
 
 
Pleasant Hills Public Library Adult Fiction Fic Dav
Location  Pleasant Hills Public Library
 
Collection  Adult Fiction
 
Call Number  Fic Dav
 
 
Summary
Versailles is the story of an expansive spirit locked in a pretty body and an impossible moment in history. As the novel begins, fourteen-year-old Marie Antoinette is traveling from Austria to France to meet her fiancé, the mild, abstracted Louis. He will become the sixteenth Louis to reign in France, and Antoinette will be his queen, hemmed in by towering hairdos, the xenophobic suspicion of her subjects, the misogyny of her detractors, the larger-than-life figures of Mirabeau, Du Barry, Robespierre, and the manifold twists and turns of the palace she calls home.
The novel moves from room to room, from garden to fountain, occasionally breaking into playlets in which we glimpse characters struggling to mind their step in the great ballroom of the world. Driving our tour is the relentless engine of time, that friend to youth, for whom anything is possible. Antoinette gives birth to four children, two of whom will outlive her; she falls in love; she dies at the guillotine. A meditation on time and the soul's true journey within it, Versailles is at once wittily entertaining and astonishingly wise.
Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Davis (Walking Tour) takes liberties with the legend of Marie Antoinette in this novelization of the doomed queen's life, narrated as a series of sketches told mainly from Antoinette's point of view. As Davis imagines it, Antoinette is a bawdy, clever, forthright young woman interested above all in her own pleasures; she and her bumbling husband, Louis XVI, are guilty of little more than enjoying their courtly privileges. Davis has a light touch, and she sometimes wryly acknowledges questions of historical veracity that the novel inevitably raises. Recalling a conversation with Axel, a member of the Swedish court and object of her affection, Antoinette says, "Of course these may not have been our exact words, though they're close enough, at least in spirit." A few pages later, in case the reader gets any ideas about consulting an encyclopedia: "Nor does it matter, really, if Axel was my lover, in the physical sense at least.... It matters to historians, most of them men. It matters to gossips, most of them women. The pleasure is in the speculation.... Were we sexually intimate? What difference could it possibly make to you?" Such playful self-reflexivity is woven through accounts of historic events and personages, among them Madame Du Barry, Mirabeau and the story of the imprisonment and execution of the king and queen. Davis's Antoinette a wit and a flirt is bewitching, and the book is an alternately funny and melancholy meditation on the passage of time and the vagaries of history. (Aug. 8) Forecast: Writer's writer Davis deserves a broader audience; glamorous subject Marie Antoinette and a glittery chandelier-festooned jacket may help break her out. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Marie Antoinette, -- Queen, consort of Louis XVI, King of France, -- 1755-1793 -- Fiction.
Publisher Boston :Houghton Mifflin,2002
Language English
Description 206 pages ; 20 cm
ISBN 0618221360
Other Classic View