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The Pleasing Hour

King, Lily

1,535 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0871137542 / ISBN 13: 9780871137548
Published by Atlantic Monthly Pr, New York, New York, U.S.A., 1999
New Condition: New Hardcover
From Flash Books (Audubon, NJ, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

SIGNED on Title Page. Odd thing author crossed out her printed name on the title page and signed underneath it. 1st Edition. 1st Printing. New copy. Never read. Not price clipped.Not a remainder.Beautiful jacket and book. Collector's Copy. Bookseller Inventory # 000585

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Pleasing Hour

Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Pr, New York, New York, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:New

Dust Jacket Condition: New

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

Fleeing a devastating personal loss, a young American woman heads to Paris to work as an au pair and finds both trouble and salvation within the Tivot family. A first novel. 35,000 first printing. $50,000 ad/promo. Tour.

Review:

The act of writing a first novel has a lot in common with being an au pair. Each is often accomplished by a young, overeducated woman who believes she is the center of the universe. This can make for dull reading, and sometimes for unattended children falling down staircases. But Lily King's fine first novel--about an au pair--neatly avoids the solipsism that often plagues coming-of-age stories. In The Pleasing Hour, 19-year-old Rosie has fled New Hampshire for France after undergoing an anguishing loss: she surrendered her newborn son to her infertile, married sister. Rosie is literally hollowed out, unable to see beyond her own pain. "Nothing in my body felt right. It seemed to be ringing with pain but there was no part of me that I could point to and tell her, Here, here's where it hurts."

In Paris she moves in with the Tivots: the unassuming, shambling father, Marc; the glamorous and unforgiving mother, Nicole; the beautiful daughter, Odile; the merry daughter, Lola; the momma's boy, Guillaume. Rosie steps into the highly polarized atmosphere of the Tivot household, unconsciously upsetting its equilibrium by throwing in her lot with Marc and Lola. And when the family heads off to Spain for vacation, the power balance shifts palpably, since Rosie is the only one who speaks Spanish. Even Nicole grudgingly admires her. What's more, Rosie notices Marc regarding her with the "relentless curiosity he'd had in his eye since we landed in Spain." On Mallorca, the two consummate their relationship, and the betrayal forces her to see beyond her own worries to the entrenched pains and allegiances of her host family.

King cleverly iterates this message in her narrative. She occasionally, deliberately, allows each member of the Tivot family to voice the story, and this opening-up of the narrative allows the world to flow into a novel whose themes might otherwise seem petty. In the end, the author doesn't perpetrate the dull crime of youthful self-involvement--she comments on it. We care for Rosie from the start, but we like her a lot more as she comes alive to the people around her. --Claire Dederer

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