Merivel : A Man of His Time

3.98 (2,197 ratings by Goodreads)
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3.98 (2,197 ratings by Goodreads)

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The gaudy years of the Restoration are long gone. Robert Merivel, physician and courtier to Charles II, loved for his gift for turning sorrow into laughter, now faces the agitations and anxieties of middle age. Questions crowd his mind: has he been a good father? Is he a fair master? Is he the King's friend or the King's slave? In search of answers, Merivel sets off for the French court. But Versailles-all glitter in front and squalor behind-leaves Merivel in despair, until a chance encounter with Madame de Flamanville, a seductive Swiss botanist, allows him to dream of an honorable future.

Yet will that future ever be his? Back home at Bidnold Manor, his loyalty and medical skills are tested to their limits, while the captive bear he has brought back from France begins to cause havoc in his heart and on his estate.

With a cascade of lace at his neck and a laugh that can burst out of him in the midst of torment, Merivel is a uniquely brilliant creation-soulful, funny, outrageous, and achingly sad. He is Everyman. His unmistakable, self-mocking voice speaks directly to us down the centuries.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 384 pages
  • 165 x 244 x 33mm | 657g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0393079570
  • 9780393079579

Review quote

"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." -- James Walton - The Daily Mail "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." -- Mick Brown - The Daily Telegraph "Tremain's control of her character and her reflective but often dramatic unfolding of events are impressive acts of authorial ventriloquism, in which she gives a nod to the great diarists of that era but carries off her own man's story with wit, grace and originality. . . . She not only effortlessly sustains momentum and mood, but brings the novel to as near a perfect ending as one could wish." -- Rosemary Goring - The Herald "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." -- Daisy Hay - The Observer "Richly marbled with intelligence, compassion and compelling characters, leavened with flourishes of lyricism and and attractive tolerance towards human frailties." -- Angus Clarke - The Times
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About Rose Tremain

Rose Tremain's prize-winning books, including The Road Home, The Gustav Sonata, Merivel, and The American Lover, have been published in thirty countries. Chancellor of the University of East Anglia, Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and member of the Royal Society of Literature, she lives in Norfolk, England with the biographer Richard Holmes.
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Rating details

3.98 out of 5 stars
- 2,197 ratings
5 31% (676)
4 43% (951)
3 20% (450)
2 4% (92)
1 1% (28)
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