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 Online discussion with Sena Jeter Naslund about "Abunda 
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Noble
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Post Online discussion with Sena Jeter Naslund about "Abunda
Barnes and Noble are hosting an online discussion with Sena Jeter Naslund about "Abundance". Here is the link:

[url]http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/bn/board?board.id=sjna&sourceid=E000000538
[/url]

Naslund joins the discussion on Aug 6.

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Sat Aug 04, 2007 3:44 am
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I have that book..and I am enjoying it very much. :)

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Fri Aug 17, 2007 3:18 am
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Me too. I am almost finished with it, and I have to say in all honesty, it is almost completely 100% accurate. You could almost use it as a biography. Every event is described perfectly, there is NO Fersen romance, and overall, I am suprised how well researched it is. Hats off to Miss Naslund! :D

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Mon Aug 20, 2007 4:17 pm
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I don't have the book, but I ordered it from the library. Unfortunately I have to wait a little bit :(
But you liked it?

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Mon Aug 20, 2007 4:56 pm
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Yeas, very much, although I'm not quite finished yet. :wink:

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Mon Aug 20, 2007 5:13 pm
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I love it so much!!!....and its very accurate in my oppinion and a very enjoyable read. :D

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Mon Aug 20, 2007 7:01 pm
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It does feature the queen being in love with Fersen and kissing him. I think that the only novelists who deliver us from the Fersen fantasy are Chantal Thomas and Elena Maria Vidal. The narrative dragged and I was constantly having the feeling of having read it all before in a better written novel or biography, which is probably true.

At least, however, in "Abundance" the queen is shown as having a loving relationship with the king and sleeping with no one but him. She is portrayed as sweet and chaste and virtuous, and grows increasingly more devout. I am so relieved. But Gabrielle (Yolande) is depicted as a heartless, greedy hussy. That is not quite accurate, since the queen entrusted her children to her.

Also, the sexual problems of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette are given the usual treatment. I don't know why authors do not read Simone Bertieres. But I have the impression that Naslund did not use to many French sources, but based her work mostly on Fraser. Except the general portrayal of the queen is SO insipid -- no spirit, nothing of the brave queen we know so well from other books.

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Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:44 pm
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Here is Vidal's review which I think is a pretty good assessment of this novel.

http://teaattrianon.blogspot.com/2007/0 ... dance.html

And here is a discussion of this book elsewhere on this forum:

http://www.marie-antoinette.org/forum/v ... .php?t=305

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Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:49 pm
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Here is my assessment.

The positive things about Naslund's "Abundance" are as follows:

-The queen is portrayed as a virtuous, sweet, innocent, chaste, kind, devout woman who genuinely loved her husband and children and wanted to do her best for the people of France.

-Madame Elisabeth is in the book.

-Madame de Lamballe is sweet and lovely. Her head paraded in front of the Temple window is the strongest scene in the book.

-Louis XVI is shown to be a dedicated monarch and devoted husband and father.

-The relationship of Louis and M-A is shown to be a loving one, growing in devotion over the years.

-The religious aspects of the queen's life are not totally ignored and the sacramental theology improves as the book goes along, although everything is kept on a level of sweet feelings - there is no agony in this book, except in Marie-Antoinette's alleged sexual frustrations.

-the hunting scenes are beautifully done.

The weaknesses are that:

-it takes Naslund pages and pages to analyze every flicker of thought and emotion during a single event. Marie-Antoinette comes across as shallow and self-absorbed.

- the myth of Louis' phimosis/impotence is rehashed, ad nauseam.

-the queen is shown to be indulging in pleasures and parties out of sexual frustration - same old, same old....

-the characters are all the same, benign and charming, and one cannot tell one from another. One of the only scenes of any power is when M-A glimpses Artois raping a chambermaid in the corridor, but I am still not sure if it was supposed to be real, or just a dream or sexual fantasy.

-Versailles is like a fairy-tale palace and there are continuous allusions to fairies. No dirt, no bad odors, like the real Versailles. It is really like the book version of the Coppola film in that regard - Versailles in one big playground.

-Madame de Lamballe is the "good" friend while Madame de Polignac is the "bad" friend. Yolande Gabrielle is shown to be dissolute and greedy, encouraging Marie-Antoinette to have an affair, just like in the Coppola film.

-the Fersen fantasy is rehashed ad nauseam, and M-A is always thinking about Fersen whenever she thinks about God.

Naslund says at the end that her novel is "based on the published research of others" in their "non-fiction" works but I think she borrowed from some uncited published works of fiction, too. The best passages were those which strongly reminded me of other Marie-Antoinette novels. It is really sad to me that this novel as well as the Coppola film are how many people are going to picture Marie-Antoinette from now on. Oh, well, I guess it could be worse.

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Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:57 pm
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Thank you for your review, dear Therese ! Always so deep and so clever !

Well... same old, same old, seems so... and I am not in a hurry of finding this book ! :lol: I am sick of all those clichés...

That's what I loved so much in the novel "Trianon" ! Antoinette, Louis, Gabrielle, Elisabeth Vigée Lebrun, the little Madame Royale... they are not clichés, but real characters living and acting and feeling so strong !

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Last edited by Pimprenelle on Tue Aug 21, 2007 6:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Aug 21, 2007 5:49 pm
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Thanks! I agree with you, Pim, and with Madame Vidal's review. It is not a terrible book, just a bit insipid.

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Tue Aug 21, 2007 6:16 pm
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