Merivel: A Man of His Time
Get ready to laugh, prepare to weep -- Robert Merivel is back in Rose Tremain's magical sequel to Restoration.
Robert Merivel, courtier to Charles II is no longer a young man -- but off he goes to France in search of the Sun King and to Switzerland in pursuit of a handsome woman. Versailles -- all glitter in front and squalor behind -- is a fiasco: Merivel is forced to share an attic (and a chamber pot) with a Dutch clock-maker while attempting to sustain himself on peas and jam and water from the fountains. Switzerland, by contrast, is perhaps a little too comfortable. But the lady, a clever botanist, leads Merivel deliciously on -- until her jealous husband bursts in with duelling pistols.
As he narrates the picaresque journey, Merivel gets into all sorts of scrapes; he is torn between enjoying himself and making something of his life, through medicine and the study of science. He tries to be diligent, but constantly backslides into laugher and laziness. A big-hearted rogue who loves his daughter, his country house and the English King... Merivel is Everyman -- and he speaks directly to us down the centuries.
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