The Lost Diary of Don Juan : An Account of the True Arts of Passion and the Perilous Adventure of Love

The Lost Diary of Don Juan : An Account of the True Arts of Passion and the Perilous Adventure of Love

by Douglas Carlton Abrams
     
 

It was a time of discovery and decadence, when life became a gamble and the gold that poured endlessly into the port of Sevilla devalued money, marriage, and love itself. In the midst of these treacherous times, Juan Tenorio is born and then abandoned in the barn of a convent. Raised secretly by the nuns, he learns to love and worship all women and wants nothing

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Overview

It was a time of discovery and decadence, when life became a gamble and the gold that poured endlessly into the port of Sevilla devalued money, marriage, and love itself. In the midst of these treacherous times, Juan Tenorio is born and then abandoned in the barn of a convent. Raised secretly by the nuns, he learns to love and worship all women and wants nothing more than to be a priest, until he falls in love with one of the sisters. When their affair is discovered, Juan leaves the Church forever. He is soon recruited to be a spy by the powerful Marquis de la Mota, who teaches him to become the world's greatest libertine and seducer of women. But when he crosses swords with the most powerful man in the Empire, Don Juan must escape the murderous fury of the Inquisitor who battles all forms of debauchery, deviance, and heresy.

It is after knowing countless women that he is convinced by the Marquis to keep a diary, and it is here within its pages that Don Juan reveals his greatest adventures and the Arts of Passion he mastered. But what finally compels him to confess everything and risk losing his life, livelihood, and honor is the most perilous adventure of all — the irresistible fall into the madness of love with the only woman who could ever make him forget all others.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

The famously insatiable lover is brought brilliantly to life in this lively, suspenseful debut novel by Abrams (coauthor of The Multi-Orgasmic Couple; The Multi-Orgasmic Man). Framed as Don Juan's long-guarded diary, the narrative picks up at a gallop and never relents, tracing Don Juan's orphaned upbringing at a convent and torturous monastery before he escapes and joins a band of thieves. He is soon introduced to the Marquis, who trains the then amateur Lothario to become equally adept at swordsmanship and seducing women. (Abrams's background in Taoist sexuality is evident in the latter's scenes.) Don Juan develops a reputation as "some kind of demon," but the Marquis, who is close to the king, protects Don Juan from the inquisitor general's plans to punish him. Nevertheless, Don Juan resists the Marquis's plea that he marry to save himself, claiming he has no interest in love�until he meets pistol-packing firebrand Doña Ana. Abrams renders his hero with sympathetic understanding, and his erotic exploits�though heavy on plumage ("I sipped the moist nectar of her mouth as she opened her petals to me")�round out Don Juan instead of providing one-handed reading material. The story unspools with the invigorating trajectory of a thriller and the emotional draw of historical romance. (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

"As long as desire is banished from the Kingdom of Heaven, there will always be a long line at the Gates of Hell." What's wrong with this sentence-other than its somewhat overheated quality-is the superfluous "always" (there's already "as long as"). Superfluousness is a recurrent fault in this corny retelling of the Don Juan legend; Abrams (former editor, Univ. of California Press) uses too many words, and too often they are the wrong ones-florid and self-consciously tony. Rather than letting the compelling story of the world's greatest seducer simply carry readers along, Abrams gussies things up with passages of purple prose (alliteration is a favorite of his, as are Gratuitous Capitals). From "I sipped the moist nectar of her mouth as she opened her petals to me" to "My heart . . . painted her skin in a hundred colors of pleasure," the writing in this potboiler embarrasses. (Abrams has coauthored books on love, sexuality, and spirituality; this is his first novel.) A Barbara Cartland version of the Don Juan legend; definitely not recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ12/06; the city of Seville, Spain, has declared 2007 the Year of Don Juan.-Ed.]
—David Keymer

Library Journal - Library Journal
For his first novel, a former University of California and HarperSanFrancisco editor tries on the life of Don Juan. Foreign rights have proliferated. With a seven-city tour; Book Club Reader feature. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The life and times of the legendary seducer, here imagined as a historical character whose diary has come into the possession of "editor" Abrams. It's not entirely a departure from the New Age-inflected nonfiction considerations of "love, sexuality, and spirituality" co-authored by Abrams (The Multi-Orgasmic Couple, 2002, etc.). For this Don Juan is an intellectual libertine given to debating the legitimacy of sexual experience with the women who enchant and gratify him, and with agents of the Spanish Inquisition. Juan grows to manhood in the latter years of the 16th century, during Spain's Golden Age. In his own suave, measured voice, we learn of his upbringing in a convent (after his unmarried mother had abandoned her infant), brief tenure in a monastery and commitment to a life of sensual pleasure and robust adventure-as a member of a jovial gang of robbers, and the tool of Machiavellian Marquis de la Mota (who employs Juan's bedroom expertise to cuckold and embarrass his political enemies). In a brisk narrative that nevertheless consists less of developing action than of multiple repetitions of essentially similar episodes, two themes are emphasized: Juan's heartfelt opposition to the Inquisition's punitive malevolence, and his genuine love for Do-a Ana, the beautiful noblewoman threatened with an unwanted marriage (to the aforementioned Marquis). Period detail is deftly handled, and the story is nicely fleshed out with vivid supporting characters (e.g., a randy Duchess who justifies her dalliance with Juan by pretending he is her absent husband; a legendary courtesan who equals him in skill and appetite; and Juan's ingenuous coachman Cristobal, who utters the novel's plaintive finalwords). And the sex scenes are juicy, if occasionally risibly florid. Perhaps not a novel to be loved, but a dependably entertaining one. Agent: Heide Lange/Sanford J. Greenburger Associates

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781416547013
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/01/2007

Meet the Author

Douglas Carlton Abrams is the nationally bestselling author of The Lost Diary of Don Juan, which has been published in thirty languages. He writes fact-based fiction and did extensive research for his new novel, including swimming with and recording humpback whales, meeting present-day whalers, and cage diving with great white sharks. Previously an editor at the University at California Press and HarperCollins, he is the cofounder of Idea Architects, a book and media development agency.

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The Lost Diary of Don Juan

An Account of the True Arts of Passion and the Perilous Adventure of Love
By Douglas Carlton Abrams

Atria

Copyright © 2007 Douglas Carlton Abrams
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9781416532507

Chapter One: Rumors and Lies

I write in the naked pages of this diary so that the truth will be known and my fate will not be left to the rumors and lies already whispering through the streets of Sevilla. Many, I am sure, will try to turn my life into a morality play after I am dead, but no man's life is so easily understood or dismissed.

I would not risk inscribing my secrets in this diary had I not been convinced to do so by my friend and benefactor, Don Pedro, the Marquis de la Mota. I argued that nothing I would write could be circulated in my lifetime without my being condemned by the Holy Office of the Inquisition and burned at the stake. The Inquisitor himself branded this danger into my imagination just yesterday. Perhaps it is this fresh threat, or the ultimatum of the King, that has at last caused me to pick up this quill and ink these words. The Marquis insisted that it is for posterity that I should write this diary, one's reputation being the only true immortality. But it is hardly vanity alone that causes me to write.

Thirty-six years have passed since my birth, or more correctly since my mother left me, a swaddled bundle, in the barn of the Convento de la MadreSagrada. It is no doubt a sign of my advancing years that I have been persuaded for the first time in my life to consider how I will be remembered. Yet there is another desire that leads me to write in this diary. It is to pass on what I have learned about the Arts of Passion and of the holiness of womanhood. Since I have forsworn matrimony and have no heirs of my own blood, I must look to all who follow as my descendants and try to share with them what I have learned from the women I have been privileged to know so well.

A man's recollections always tend toward self-flattery, so I will not rely on my testimony alone and will instead write, as faithfully as possible, not only the events but the words themselves that were shouted during a duel or whispered during a passionate embrace.

It is this same pride that leads me to begin my account with the most daring seduction I have ever undertaken. My ambition was nothing less than to free the King's chaste and lonely daughter from her imprisonment in the royal palace of the Alcázar -- for a night. I knew that if I were caught, it would be my privilege as a noble to place my head on the executioner's block and avoid the shame of the gallows.

A man's ambition, however, like his fate, is not always known to him in advance, and as I left the arms of the Widow Elvira, I had no hint of the danger that I would embrace last night.

Copyright © 2007 by Idea Architects



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Excerpted from The Lost Diary of Don Juan by Douglas Carlton Abrams Copyright © 2007 by Douglas Carlton Abrams. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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