Merivel: Book summary and reviews of Merivel by Rose Tremain

Merivel

A Man of His Time

by Rose Tremain

Merivel by Rose Tremain X
Merivel by Rose Tremain
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About this book

Book Summary

Robert Merivel, courtier to Charles II is no longer a young man - but off he goes to France in search of the Sun King and to Switzerland in pursuit of a handsome woman. Versailles - all glitter in front and squalor behind - is a fiasco: Merivel is forced to share an attic (and a chamber pot) with a Dutch clock-maker while attempting to sustain himself on peas and jam and water from the fountains. Switzerland, by contrast, is perhaps a little too comfortable. But the lady, a clever botanist, leads Merivel deliciously on - until her jealous husband bursts in with duelling pistols.

As he narrates the picaresque journey, Merivel gets into all sorts of scrapes; he is torn between enjoying himself and making something of his life, through medicine and the study of science. He tries to be diligent, but constantly backslides into laugher and laziness. A big-hearted rogue who loves his daughter, his country house and the English King ... Merivel is Everyman -- and he speaks directly to us down the centuries.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"If something seems lacking, that may only be in comparison with the first novel's unflagging inventiveness and its film adaptation's unrestrained opulence, and from Tremain's focus on the Restoration's sadder, waning days, with both Merivel and Charles realizing how short of their former promise their lives have fallen." - Publishers Weekly

"Tremain's sequel can be read as a stand-alone, but readers may struggle to understand many of the events the main character alludes to in the narrative." - Kirkus Reviews

"Tremain's latest will appeal to sophisticated readers of historical fiction who appreciate a richly painted setting enlivened by an intriguingly empathetic portrait of Charles II and an all-too-human hero - passionate, paradoxical, self-destructive, and infinitely sympathetic." - Library Journal

"Richly marbled with intelligence, compassion and compelling characters, leavened with flourishes of lyricism and and attractive tolerance towards human frailties." - The Times (UK)

"When he appeared in 1989, Merivel was truly the man of the Thatcherite moment, an individualistic, hedonistic creature who held up a mirror to his audience. So does he still have something to say to us in 2012? Resoundingly, yes." - The Observer (UK)

"Robert Merivel is one of the great imaginative creations in English literature of the past 50 years. [Merivel is] as rich and as dazzling as its predecessor - steeped in wise and witty reflection on the great Mysteries of Life, and the timeless, futile Hopes and Follies." - The Daily Telegraph (UK)

"What ultimately makes the book such a joy is simply being in Merivel's company. His narration is by turns rueful, comic, despairing and joyful; but it's always bursting with life, always good-hearted - and always entirely loveable." - The Daily Mail (UK)

This information about Merivel was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Rose Tremain Author Biography

Rose Tremain, born in London in 1943, was one of only five women writers to be included in Granta's original list of 20 Best of Young British Novelists in 1983. Her novels and short stories have been published worldwide in 27 countries and have won many prizes, including the Sunday Express book of the Year Award (for Restoration, also shortlisted for the Booker Prize); the Prix Femina Etranger, France (for Sacred Country); the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award (for Music & Silence) and the Orange Prize for Fiction 2008 (for The Road Home). Restoration was filmed in 1995 and a stage version was produced in 2009. Her latest novel is The Gustav Sonata which sees Rose 'writing at the height of her inimitable powers' (Observer).

Rose lives in Norfolk, England with the ...

... Full Biography
Link to Rose Tremain's Website

Other books by Rose Tremain at BookBrowse
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