Versailles: A Novel

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Aug 12, 2013 - Fiction - 224 pages
2 Reviews
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 fiancÚ, 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.
 

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Versailles

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Davis (The Girl Who Trod on a Loaf) offers a short but poignant meditation on the life of Marie Antoinette and the role of fate in our lives. Much has been written about that queen, but this novel ... Read full review

Review: Versailles

User Review  - Mara - Goodreads

Loved the technique of using a play as part of the narrative. This book shattered many of the notions I held about Marie Antoinette and was a fabulous read! Favorite line: "Yet why should it be sad ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

VERSAILLES
GOOSEFOOT
ENVELOPE
MESDAMES
MARBLE COURT
INTERIOR OF A KITCHEN
DOORS
THE KINGS PENIS
LABYRINTH
THE RAT AND THE FROG
NECKLACE
ROHANS ARIA after Beaumarchais
GOOSEFOOT
THE BAKER AND HIS WIFE
GRANDES EAUX
MlRABEAU

STAIRCASE OF THE AMBASSADORS
TURGOTS LAMENT after Purcell
COUNT FALKENSTEIN
THE CHAMBER OF THE PENDULUM CLOCK
DUETTINO after Mozart
THE QUEENS BEDCHAMBER
VOICES FROM BEYOND
PEAR TREE
MARBLE COURT
GEOGRAPHY LESSON
EROS
HALL OF MIRRORS
Back Matter
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

Kathryn Davis is the recipient of a Kafka Prize for fiction by an American woman and the 1999 Morton Dauwen Zabel Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters. Davis teaches at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York and lives with her husband and daughter in Vermont.

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