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History of a Pleasure Seeker

Richard Mason

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

From the acclaimed author of The Drowning People (“A literary sensation” —The New York Times Book Review) and Natural Elements (“A magnum opus” —The New Yorker), an opulent, romantic coming-of-age drama set at the height of Europe’s belle époque, written in the grand tradition with a lightness of touch that is wholly modern and original.
 
The novel opens in Amsterdam at the turn of the last century. It moves to New York at the time of the 1907 financial crisis and proceeds onboard a luxury liner headed for Cape Town.
 
It is about a young man—Piet Barol—with an instinctive appreciation for pleasure and a gift for finding it. Piet’s father is an austere administrator at Holland’s oldest university. His mother, a singing teacher, has died—but not before giving him a thorough grounding in the arts of charm.
 
Piet applies for a job as tutor to the troubled son of Europe’s leading hotelier: a child who refuses to leave his family’s mansion on Amsterdam’s grandest canal. As the young man enters this glittering world, he learns its secrets—and soon, quietly, steadily, finds his life transformed as he in turn transforms the lives of those around him.
 
History of a Pleasure Seeker is a brilliantly written portrait of the senses, a novel about pleasure and those who are in search of it; those who embrace it, luxuriate in it, need it; and those who deprive themselves of it as they do those they love. It is a book that will beguile and transport you—to another world, another time, another state of being.

Publishers Weekly Review

Nov 28, 2011 – The title of Mason’s latest misleads, not only because his story details an interlude in a young man’s life, not a history, but also because this man is less a seeker than a receiver. The operative word, however, is pleasure, which comes in abundance to both the reader and the seductively handsome Piet Barol. The story opens in Amsterdam, 1907, during the belle époque, which Mason evokes with delightful period detail. Piet, at 24, is hired as a tutor for the deeply troubled son of the wealthy Maarten Vermeulen-Sickerts, a devout Calvinist whose belief in predetermination guides him to a degree that he conceals even from his cherished wife, Jacobina. Their obsessive son, Egbert, is tormented by invisible demons; his suffering adds weight to a tale that is otherwise amusingly, at times stubbornly, lighthearted. No one, including Jacobina or Egbert’s two older sisters, fails to notice Piet’s allure. He is bright, talented, and ambitious, but he trusts those qualities less than he trusts his sexuality, which leads him to many enthusiastic encounters with women, including Jacobina, and men, and helps him slide haplessly into passivity. Mason (Natural Elements) writes with sensuality and humor, but the novel fails to deeply satisfy, especially at its forced and hollow end.

Customer Reviews

History of a Pleasure Seeker is a fantastic read!!!!

I am a 50 year old heterosexual American guy whose reading preferences are normally geared toward anything dealing with current events, and military special forces. I ended up reading a review of this book in the Herald Tribune while on a flight from Karachi. I found this book to be an extraordinary work. It was an exceptionally well written story and even erotic. It was also engaging to the imagination. The vocabulary used was very interesting. In just about every ten pages my vocabulary was substantially enhanced. It is worth buying and reading during a long flight.

Disappointed

As a gay man I was pretty impressed with the fact that "Gay" characters were included in this book. they all come off as a bit perverted and either stalking types or hopelessly saddened by unrequited love, but hey, at least they're in the book! Otherwise, I kept expecting things to happen that never ended up happening or praying things didn't happen that DID! By the last chapter I was just reading very fast waiting for it to end, which sadly it kind of never did end. I finished the book with a sigh of relief and a longing for the money I used to buy this never ending story refunded to my iTunes account.

What fun! and Brilliant to boot.

I just finished this book...and I am sad to have done so, but Mr. Mason promises to write more about M. Barol. But how can I wait?

This is funny, captivating, thrilling, and extremely well writen.

Few books have left me feeling lost when knowing I have no more of them to read: Buddenbrooks, Age of Innocence, Sea of Poppies, Atonement, Palace Walk, and this, History of a Pleasure Seeker.

History of a Pleasure Seeker
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Feb 07, 2012
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Random House, LLC
  • Print Length: 320 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings