Michael Jenkins A House in Flanders

ISBN 13: 9780285630819

A House in Flanders

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9780285630819: A House in Flanders
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An Englishman recalls the summer he spent with his titular "aunts" in Flanders in 1951, describing life there in the aftermath of the war and prior to the onslaught of modernity

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About the Author:

Michael Jenkins had a long career as a senior diplomat. He was knighted in 1990 and died in 2013.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Pallid evocation of a summer spent in 1951 with family acquaintances in a sprawling French country house. Jenkins, now British Ambassador to the Netherlands, recalls the foibles, the petty rivalries, the domestic rituals of the various ``tantes'' and ``oncles'' he encountered during his stay, when he was but 14 years old. The family Jenkins visited centered on five women--Tantes Yvonne, Florence, Alice, Th‚rŠse, and Lise. Rounding out the cast are Alice's bumbling husband, Auguste, several thirtysomething children, and a handful of servants. Each individual is depicted as a well-worn stock figure: Yvonne is portrayed as elderly, unmarried, self-sacrificing, wise; Th‚rŠse as fawnlike and vulnerable; Alice as assertive and tightfisted; Florence's daughter, Madeleine, as dutiful but frustrated and longing to escape to Paris. One of the more effective vignettes describes the visit of a former German soldier who'd been billeted in the house during the Nazi Occupation--but here, as elsewhere, Jenkins shies away from expressing the issues in clear-cut terms and drains the confrontation of dramatic tension. Comparisons to Peter Mayle's books are probably inevitable. But where Mayle revealed a winningly idiosyncratic vision of a stranger's life in France, Jenkins remains a cipher and his adventures curiously uninvolving. (Illustrated with undistinguished line drawings.) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Michael Jenkins
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Michael Jenkins
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