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The King in the Tree: Three Novellasby Steven Millhauser
Synopses & Reviews
From the author of Edwin Mullhouse and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Martin Dressier: three dazzling novellas about the many shapes of love.
"Revenge" is a tour de force about erotic love and betrayal, told through the voice of a woman showing her home to a stranger with a disturbing secret. As the once-happy wife moves from front parlor to bedroom, she insinuates herself into her guest's (and the reader's) mind — until at last we are confronted with a shocking crime of the heart.
"An Adventure of Don Juan" and the title novella transform classic fables into immediate, wholly original tales of romance. The first puts the famous lover on a country estate in England, where he attempts to perpetrate a brilliant seduction only to discover something surprising about the human heart. "The King in the Tree" is a mesmerizing retelling of the tragedy of Tristan and Ysolt, a tale of devotion and denial, of a king's infatuation with his beautiful wife — and the agony of her betrayal with his own nephew.
Full of passion, trysting, and fatal pleasures, these three brilliant novellas are rich with the many gifts of our most persistently imaginative romancer.
?There is nothing lighthearted about love, implies Millhauser, in these three dark and feverishly rich novellas?[His] portrayal of fools and self-made victims is unblinking and unsentimental. He is particularly attuned to the ways that people fall out of love?at his best dramatizing these moments of ambivalent hesitation and the disastrous effect they have on the ?fellowships of two.?? Publishers Weekly (starred review)
?Some of the best writing of Millhauser?s increasingly brilliant career appears in this collection of three imaginative and unusual novellas....Wonderful work, from one of the authentic magic-makers.? Kirkus (starred review)
?[Millhauser] creates a world that is exquisite in its tortures and terrors, a world which only the heightened consciousness of an artist of a dreamer could inhabit.? William Kennedy
?Such intelligence, wit and compassion that a reviewer?s catalogue of superlatives is inadequate to it.? Jonathan Yardley
?Millhauser?s writing is dazzling...[with] heart as well as fierce intelligence, and that combination, to my mind, signifies greatness.? David Leavitt, Esquire
About the Author
Steven Millhauser received the Pulitzer Prize for Martin Dressler. He is a recipient of the Lannan Award and has been honored by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The author of nine previous books, he teaches at Skidmore College and lives with his wife and two children in Saratoga Springs, New York.
Table of Contents
Revenge — An adventure of Don Juan — The king in the tree.
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