Restoration

Restoration

3.8 6
by Rose Tremain
     
 

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The Booker shortlisted novel that “restored the historical novel to its rightful place of honor” (New York Times).

Robert Merivel, son of a glove maker and an aspiring physician, finds his fortunes transformed when he is given a position at the court of King Charles II. Merivel slips easily into a life of luxury and idleness,

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Overview

The Booker shortlisted novel that “restored the historical novel to its rightful place of honor” (New York Times).

Robert Merivel, son of a glove maker and an aspiring physician, finds his fortunes transformed when he is given a position at the court of King Charles II. Merivel slips easily into a life of luxury and idleness, enthusiastically enjoying the women and wine of the vibrant Restoration age. But when he’s called on to serve the king in an unusual role, he transgresses the one law that he is forbidden to break and is brutally cast out from his newfound paradise. Thus begins Merivel’s journey to self-knowledge, which will take him down into the lowest depths of seventeenth-century society.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The double import of Tremain's title--it refers both to the reign of the 17th-century Restoration King Charles II and to the restoration to the protagonist of his beloved home and aspirations for his life--is one of the subtle delights of this accomplished novel, shortlisted for the Booker and winner of other awards in Britain. The story is of one man's rise and fall and rise again, of his discovery of love and faith, and his emotional maturation in a crucible of harrowing experiences. In a larger sense, however, it is a social, cultural and psychological picture of that age, when bluebloods lived in gaudy excess but others were expected to be content in their ``appointed stations.'' Through the whim of his adored monarch, narrator Robert Merivel becomes veterinarian to the Royal Dogs, unofficial Fool, and ``paid cuckold,'' when he marries the King's mistress, Celia Clemence, on condition that he himself will never fall in love with her. Having unwittingly succumbed to that forbidden emotion, Merivel is cast off by both wife and King, and must join his dour Quaker friend Pearce working in a lunatic asylum in remote, bleak Whittlesea. Another tragic loss sends him back to plague-ridden London, where his life comes full turn. Merivel embodies the contradictions of his era: though he is vain, frivolous and cynical, he is also a man of sensibility, intelligence and imaginative daring; his wry, witty voice holds the reader absorbed. A thoroughly satisfying read, the complex plot is augmented by acutely observed historical detail, nuanced character development, humor and poignancy. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Restoration is all that its title implies: a tale of the restoration of gaiety, self-indulgence, and worldiness after the austerity of the Puritan regime; the restoration of energy and life to London after the plague and the Great Fire; and the restoration of purpose and meaning to the life of Robert Merivel after King Charles II withdraws the patronage which had plunged it into enervating luxury. It is a beautifully crafted work in which almost every event and character, as well as the narrator's relationship with the reader, richly illuminate Merivel's life and temperament. Exquisite balance and symmetry as well as passages of lyrical description are certain to please discriminating readers. British author Tremain has written Letter to Sister Benedicta (LJ 9/1/79) and The Colonel's Daughter and Other Stories (LJ 5/15/84), among other works.-- Cynthia Johnson Whealler, Cary Memorial Lib., Lexington, Mass.
New York Times
“Nothing less than superb.”
Sunday Telegraph
“A regal work—here, brought to triumphant attainment, are those elusive ideals of the historical novelist.”— Ruth Rendel
Ruth Rendel - Sunday Telegraph
“A regal work—here, brought to triumphant attainment, are those elusive ideals of the historical novelist.”
Sunday Telegraph - Ruth Rendel
“A regal work—here, brought to triumphant attainment, are those elusive ideals of the historical novelist.”
From the Publisher
“A most beautiful and original novel.”
Independent

"Triumphant."
Sunday Telegraph

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393347128
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
04/08/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
248,578
File size:
1 MB

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