272 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.63 in
October 2, 2013
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 0547577494
ISBN - 13: 9780547577494
Read from the Book
July 23, 1952
Well, I’m back. London was all right, Paris was terrible, and I never made it down to Rome. They say it’s the hottest summer they’ve had since before the war. And except for the weather, I’m afraid there’s not much else to report. The address you gave me—Julian left there about a week ago. It seems I just missed him by a few days. You wouldn’t have approved, a rooming house in a rundown neighborhood way out toward the edge of the city. I did the best I could to track him down—tried all the places you said he might be working at. His landlady when I inquired turned out to be a pure blank. All she had to offer was an inkling of a girlfriend. He took everything with him, apparently not much.
I’m returning your check. From the looks of where your son was living, he could certainly have used the $500. Sorry I couldn’t help more. I hope you and (especially) Margaret are well.
From the Publisher
An absorbing achievement .º.º. A nimble, entertaining literary homage, but it is also, chillingly, what James would have called ,the real thing.''- New York Times Book Review
Cynthia Ozick is a literary treasure. In her sixth novel, she retraces Henry James's The Ambassadors and delivers a brilliant, utterly new American classic.
At the center of the story is Bea Nightingale, a fiftyish divorced schoolteacher whose life has been on hold during the many years since her brief marriage. When her estranged, difficult brother asks her to travel to Europe to retrieve a nephew she barely knows, she becomes entangled in the lives of his family. Over the course of a few months she travels from New York to Paris to Hollywood, aiding and abetting her nephew and niece while waging a war of letters with her brother, and finally facing her ex-husband to shake off his lingering sneers from decades past. As she inadvertently wreaks havoc in their lives, every one of them is irrevocably changed.
'Raucous, funny, ferocious, and tragic. A literary master, as James was, Ozick makes all those qualities fit together seamlessly, and with heartbreaking effect.'- Philadelphia Inquirer
'Dazzling, even masterful.'- Entertainment Weekly
About the Author
Author of numerous acclaimed works of fiction and nonfiction, CYNTHIA OZICK is a recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the Man Booker International Prize. Her writing has appeared in The New Republic , Harper's , and elsewhere. She lives in New York.
"Ozick’s heady fiction springs from her deep critical involvement in literature, especially her fascination with Henry James, which emboldened her to lift the plot of his masterpiece, The Ambassadors, and recast it in a taut and flaying novel that is utterly her own….Ozick’s dramatic inquiry into the malignance of betrayal; exile literal and emotional; the many tentacles of anti-Semitism; and the balm and aberrance of artistic obsession is brilliantly nuanced and profoundly disquieting." – Booklist, starred reviewFrom Kirkus*Starred Review* An extraordinary novel, loosely based on The Ambassadors—but Ozick (Dictation, 2008, etc.) manages to out-James the master himself. Julian Nachtigall, son of a tyrannical and imperious businessman, has gone to Paris but has shown no interest in returning home. While there, he links up with Lili, a Romanian expat about ten years his senior. Marvin, the father, is furious that Julian wants to waste his life playing around in nonserious matters (e.g., writing essays and observations of French life), so he sends his sister Bea (who’s Anglicized her name to Nightingale) to Paris to bring him to his senses as well as bring him home. Bea teaches English to high-school thugs who mock her love of Wordsworth and Keats, and Marvin has always held her in contempt for what in his eyes is her impractical and useless profession. Bea is complicit in tricking Marvin by sending Julian’s sister, Iris, to Paris instead. Iris is the apple of Marvin’s eye, a