Deborah Moggach Tulip Fever

ISBN 13: 9780099288855

Tulip Fever

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Tulip Fever

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Deborah Moggach's Tulip Fever takes place in 17th-century Amsterdam, where roguish Rembrandt wannabes like Jan van Loos are just waiting to fall into ticklish situations. In this case, a paunchy merchant named Cornelis Sandvoort wanders into the artist's studio, hoping to impress posterity with a portrait of himself and his young wife. Apart from the fat commission, which van Loos can use, there is the bride to consider. Beautiful and bored, Sophia is easily swayed by his youthful passion--but this time, the raffish van Loos actually falls in love with one of his sexual conquests. The two carry out their affair with increasing doses of rashness and deception, meanwhile becoming dependent on the complicity of a servant, the astonishing gullibility of the old man, and the fast cash to be made on the tulip-bulb exchange.

The plot of Moggach's 13th novel neatly matches the speculative frenzy of the period, careening from one improbable thrill to the next. It was, to be sure, a time of stunning economic lunacy, when a single Semper Augustus bulb could be sold for "six fine horses, three oxheads of wine, a dozen sheep, two dozen silver goblets and a seascape by Esaias van de Velde." The author expertly dabs in this sort of period detail, and her chapter epigraphs quote some charming 17th-century Dutch sources on morals and conventional wisdom. Indeed, it's these quasi-surreal touches--whales washing up on the coast, chimney pots toppling into the street, women rubbing goose fat into their hands--that make the lovers' overheated sentiments so plausible. "For centuries to come," the narrator says, "people will gaze at these paintings and wonder what is about to happen." Tulip Fever gives us the chance to do exactly that. --John Ponyicsanyi

From the Inside Flap:

In Tulip Fever, acclaimed author Deborah Moggach has created that rarest of novels--a literary tour de force that is also brilliantly, compulsively readable. Not since Patrick Suskind's Perfume has a work of fiction so vividly evoked a time, a place, and a passion.

In 1630s Amsterdam, tulip fever has seized the populace. Everywhere men are seduced by the fantastic exotic flower. But for wealthy merchant Cornelis Sandvoort, it is his young and beautiful wife, Sophia, who stirs his soul. She is the prize he desires, the woman he hopes will bring him the joy that not even his considerable fortune can buy.

Cornelis yearns for an heir, but so far he and Sophia have failed to produce one. In a bid for immortality, he commissions a portrait of them both by the talented young painter Jan van Loos. But as Van Loos begins to capture Sophia's likeness on canvas, a slow passion begins to burn between the beautiful young wife and the talented artist. As the portrait unfolds, so a slow dance is begun among the household's inhabitants. Ambitions, desires, and dreams breed a grand deception--and as the lies multiply, events move toward a thrilling and tragic climax.

In this richly imagined international bestseller, Deborah Moggach deftly brings to life a world of art, beauty, lust, greed, deception--and tulips.
Young, beautiful, and poor, Sophia wed Cornelis Sandvoort more to save her family than herself. Wealthy from the shipping trade, Cornelis sought a new young wife to give himself the joy, and heir, that not even his considerable fortune could buy.

Chosen by Cornelis to immortalize his achievements and marriage on canvas, the young, talented Jan Van Loos begins to paint. While the artist captures Sophia's likeness, a slow passion begins to burn between them. As the execution of the painting unfolds, ambitions, desires, and dreams breed a grand deception, and as the lies multiply, events move towards a thrilling and tragic climax. -->

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