Sena Jeter Naslund made flesh and blood a boldly original fictional character called "Ahab's wife". Now, she combines rigorous scholarship and blazing imagination to illuminate the life of Marie Antoinette, one of the most courageous—and misunderstood—queens in history.
"Like everyone, I am born naked."
With this opening line of Naslund's compelling new novel, a very human Marie Antoinette invites readers to live her story as she herself experiences it. Marie Antoinette was a child of fourteen when her mother, the Empress of Austria, arranged for her to become the wife of the fifteen-year-old Dauphin, the future King of France. The young queen embraces her new family and the French people, and she is embraced in return. She shows her new husband nothing but love and encouragement, though he fails to give her a child and an heir to the throne.
Deeply disappointed and isolated, the queen allows herself to remain ignorant of the country's growing economic and political crises, and the people turn against her. Poor harvests, bitter winters, war debts, and poverty precipitate rebellion and revenge known as "the Terror."
Once again, Sena Jeter Naslund has shed new light on an important moment of historical change. Exquisitely detailed, beautifully written, heartbreaking and powerful, Abundance is a novel that is impossible to put down.
Performed by Susanna Burney
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Sena Jeter Naslund is a cofounder and program director of the Spalding University (Louisville) brief-residency MFA in Writing, where she edits The Louisville Review and Fleur-de-Lis Press. A winner of the Harper Lee Award and the Southeastern Library Association Fiction award, she is the author of eight previous works of fiction, including Ahab's Wife, a finalist for the Orange Prize. She recently retired from her position as Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Louisville.From AudioFile:
Engaged to the 15-year-old dauphin, 'Toinette, the high-spirited 14-year-old daughter of the empress of Austria, arrives in France with enthusiasm for new sights, sounds, and the French people who welcome her. Susanna Burney uses an elevated pitch and fast pace to convey this naïve excitement. By the age of 16, Marie Antoinette, still unbedded and better schooled on political etiquette, has matured, and Burney marks the change by adopting a lower timbre and more moderate tempo. Burney also dramatizes the young queen's growing pleasure in earthly delights and her surprise at the displeasure of the French populace. As the end approaches, Burney's calm voice portrays a woman who has accepted a violent death. S.W. © AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
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