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NOMacfie
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Registered: ‎08-05-2007
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Re: Introduce Yourselves!

Hello, I have just read this for another book group that meets later this month and I'm hoping to get some info that I can share with them.

I have never known much about Marie Antoinette (MA) but the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror have always really shocked me and is the "stuff of nightmares", as the author puts it. I love historical fiction and am interested in this book partly because one of the sources, according to info in the back of the book, is Antonia Frasier's biography of her and I also like her very much. I have not completely read the biography, but have read certain parts that correspond to parts in the novel and that has been very interesting. I think that Frasier's bio of MA was attempting to cast her in a different, more accurate light ( and was sympathetic to her) and it is fascinating to read something like Naslund's book that imagines personal thoughts to go with the facts and situations that the bio discusses. I certainly have a whole new take on MA. I live close to Atlanta and at the High Museum there right now is an exhibit from the Louvre called the Collections of Kings that I just saw -- it had items that were added to the palace at Versaille during the reigns of Louis XIV, XV and XVI and MA. It was such a stroke of luck that I was reading this book at the same time that I saw that. It really fueled my imagination as well. I can't wait for the discussion to begin.
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NLane
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Registered: ‎07-27-2007
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Re: Introduce Yourselves!

This is the second historical novel that I have read, the first being The Preservationist (which I would highly recommend). I am about halfway through Abundance and I can hardly put it down.

What drew me to Abundance is Marie Antoinette's frivolous ways. I also saw Marie Antoinette last year in the theatre and absolutely loved it! I can't wait to hear everyone's thoughts on this young queen!
Contributor
Tiffany129
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Registered: ‎08-05-2007
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Re: Introduce Yourselves!

This is the first book club discussion I’ve joined, but I loved this book and I’m really excited it to discuss it with other people.
I enjoy reading historical fiction and I have also read a few Marie Antoinette biographies.
Moderator
Rachel-K
Posts: 1,495
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Introduce Yourselves!

Hello all,

This is going to be a great group! I'm interested in how the novel makes us re-think the French Revolution by having to reshape our image of MA. Many of you seem sophisticated in already having a better, more complicated understanding of that time, (maybe because you're already history buffs?) but I'd always had a somewhat shallow historical perception of it, dominated by the inhuman coldness of that "Let them eat cake" statement!
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marcialou
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Introduce Yourselves!

[ Edited ]
Please delete.

Message Edited by marcialou on 08-06-2007 09:32 AM
Author
SenaJeterNaslund
Posts: 67
Registered: ‎08-01-2007
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Re: Introduce Yourselves!

Hi, back in the early 70's I persuaded the literary conference folks to include creative writers, selected through their submissions read blind by a committee, to have places on the program just like the literary critics. So yes, I've been involved over the years, but not now. I'm spending most of my time writing now.



Seattleslew wrote:
Zena -- I think you ran the Contemporary Fiction Conferences in U of Louisville in the 70s, right? I read at two of them. Glad to see you're doing so very well.

John Herrmann
Libby, Montana


Author
SenaJeterNaslund
Posts: 67
Registered: ‎08-01-2007
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Re: Introduce Yourselves!

Thank you for buying copies for friends. I wanted my novel to be an aesthetically satisfying experience for readers and to be historically accuracy. Reading Antoinette's letters to her mother, the Empress of Austria, helping me to create a convincing fictive voice for her. I wanted to tell her story as she lived it, moment by moment, not retrospectively in the shadow of the guillotine
Sena'




Artstaii wrote:
Greetings! "Abundance" was the first historical novel I've ever read, and I loved it! I've purchased several copies for friends and family. I didn't know much about Marie Antoinette as a person at all - I truly enjoyed this book!


Author
SenaJeterNaslund
Posts: 67
Registered: ‎08-01-2007
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Re: Introduce Yourselves!

It's interesting to me that just before the revolution scientists of the time were exploring the use of hot air balloons. The British became afraid that the French would invade by crossing the channel by air! The incident late in the book about a launch from the courtyard at Versailles is historically accurate.



jd wrote:
Good morning I am looking forward to this discussion. I love historical fiction. I am interested in the french revolution and MA -jd


Author
SenaJeterNaslund
Posts: 67
Registered: ‎08-01-2007
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Re: Introduce Yourselves!

The new paperback edition of the book has a time-line in the back, in the P.S. section, and also an interview with me. I do think writing historical fiction presents special challenges. Could you say why you don't usually read historical fiction and why you liked ABUNDANCE--perhaps the present tense recreation of the moment was the main reason, or not?



Writor wrote:
Hello. A friend loaned me her copy of "Abundance" and although I don't usually read historical fiction, this novel was fascinating. I loved the present-tense immediacy. The era of the French Revolution has always intrigued me, and I too am a fan of "Tale of Two Cities." When I went to France last spring, of course I visited Versailles, and having read the novel gave the experience another layer of meaning. I look forward to hearing more from the author.


Author
SenaJeterNaslund
Posts: 67
Registered: ‎08-01-2007
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Re: Introduce Yourselves!

Dear ML,

I'm so glad you enjoyed Ahab's Wife. Of course I had to stick to the "facts" of Melville's Moby-Dick when writing AW--not so very different than sticking to the historical facts of Antoinette's story. Both books are about strong women protagonists. You might try FOUR SPIRITS sometime about the civil rights era I lived in growing up in Birmingham



ML wrote:
Hello All. I was drawn to the novel _Abundance_ because I thoroughly enjoyed Sena's book _Ahab's Wife_. I don't know if I will be able to get through the novel in time to discuss it here (I am currently reading two other novels), but I certainly will look forward to others' comments.


Author
SenaJeterNaslund
Posts: 67
Registered: ‎08-01-2007
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Re: Introduce Yourselves!

Both Sofia Coppola and I used the Antonia Fraser new biography of MA as a main source. Of course the camera eye gives you mainly the observable world, while fiction can render thoughts and feelings. Readers can get a more intimate portrait of the inner, invisible world usually by reading fiction.



3B-S wrote:
Hey, I read "Ahab's Wife" several years ago and loved it. Then this year I saw the movie "Marie Antoinette" and liked it very much. So when I stumbled across "Abundance" at a book sale, I snatched it up. My idea of Marie Antoinette had softened some from the movie, but this book gave me a whole different idea of the girl and woman. I like her so much better now than the picture I formed of her in history class many years ago.


Author
SenaJeterNaslund
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Registered: ‎08-01-2007
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Re: Introduce Yourselves!

Certainly MA had to grow up in a hurry, but in a way her mother had prepared all her children to sacrifice their personal lives for the good of the state. Maria Theresa saw Antoinette's marriage as sealing a new alliance between old enemies--Austria and France.



viva2 wrote:
Austin, Texas, has been my home longer than any other place. I greatly enjoy living in a university town and find the vibrancy of life here full of appeal.

I am currently a member of two land-based Barnes&Noble book clubs from which I have made several very close friends and many good acquaintances. The books we have read over the years have widened my world view as well as enriching my sense of self.

I have been a member of several of the old Barnes&Noble on-line book clubs and enjoyed the interplay of thoughts and personalities that an on-line group affords.

This book on Marie Antoinette has lured me back to Barnes&Noble's new online book clubs and I greatly look forward to participating in the group. That the author will be a participant is a definite plus.

I was drawn to the book because the idea of learning more of a child being drawn into a world both alien, (speaking a different language and country,) and familiar, (another royal family,) was fascinating. To see, as well, a child thrust into the role of an adult in a high stakes world of royal intrigue is one that I have yet to encounter.


Author
SenaJeterNaslund
Posts: 67
Registered: ‎08-01-2007
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Re: Introduce Yourselves!

People who read historical fiction often have this question. As I say in the Author's Note at the beginning of the novel, I've tried to be historical accurate AND to understand Antoinette. If you have specific questions about whether a scene actully happened or not, I'll try to answer your questions.
Sena



marcialou wrote:
I read historical fiction from time to time. Still on my bookshelf are Roots, I Claudius, and Legacy (about Queen Elizabeth I). I'm more interested in Marie Antoinette now that I've read Abundance than I was before I started. I always wonder where history ends and imagination begins in a book like this.


Marcia


Author
SenaJeterNaslund
Posts: 67
Registered: ‎08-01-2007
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Re: Introduce Yourselves!

Enthusiasm like yours for reading my novel makes me want to get busy writing a new one. I'm thrilled when my readers find my books hard to put down. That's the way I feel about books I love to read too.



NLane wrote:
This is the second historical novel that I have read, the first being The Preservationist (which I would highly recommend). I am about halfway through Abundance and I can hardly put it down.

What drew me to Abundance is Marie Antoinette's frivolous ways. I also saw Marie Antoinette last year in the theatre and absolutely loved it! I can't wait to hear everyone's thoughts on this young queen!


Author
SenaJeterNaslund
Posts: 67
Registered: ‎08-01-2007
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Re: Introduce Yourselves!

The first Antoinette biography I read as an adult was Stefan Zweig's book, subtitled "Portrait of an Average Woman." It made me mad. How dare he think there is any such animal as an average woman, and how dare he put MA down by implying she was just like other women--not very bright or talented, materialistic, self-centered, etc. I asked myself, Is this another case of demonizing a woman because she occupied a position of power?



Tiffany129 wrote:
This is the first book club discussion I’ve joined, but I loved this book and I’m really excited it to discuss it with other people.
I enjoy reading historical fiction and I have also read a few Marie Antoinette biographies.


Frequent Contributor
viva2
Posts: 35
Registered: ‎08-05-2007
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Re: Introduce Yourselves!



SenaJeterNaslund wrote:
Thank you for buying copies for friends. I wanted my novel to be an aesthetically satisfying experience for readers and to be historically accuracy. Reading Antoinette's letters to her mother, the Empress of Austria, helping me to create a convincing fictive voice for her. I wanted to tell her story as she lived it, moment by moment, not retrospectively in the shadow of the guillotine
Sena'




Artstaii wrote:
Greetings! "Abundance" was the first historical novel I've ever read, and I loved it! I've purchased several copies for friends and family. I didn't know much about Marie Antoinette as a person at all - I truly enjoyed this book!





Where did you find Antoinette's letters to her mother, and were they translated into English or did you read them in the language she used, high German, I am guessing? How fascinating to read her own thoughts and experiences as she expressed them to her mother! I am just beginning the book and do have a sense of moment by moment life as you are portraying it. Thank you for that perspective.
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viva2
Posts: 35
Registered: ‎08-05-2007
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Re: Introduce Yourselves!


SenaJeterNaslund wrote:
Certainly MA had to grow up in a hurry, but in a way her mother had prepared all her children to sacrifice their personal lives for the good of the state. Maria Theresa saw Antoinette's marriage as sealing a new alliance between old enemies--Austria and France.



viva2 wrote:
Austin, Texas, has been my home longer than any other place. I greatly enjoy living in a university town and find the vibrancy of life here full of appeal.

I am currently a member of two land-based Barnes&Noble book clubs from which I have made several very close friends and many good acquaintances. The books we have read over the years have widened my world view as well as enriching my sense of self.

I have been a member of several of the old Barnes&Noble on-line book clubs and enjoyed the interplay of thoughts and personalities that an on-line group affords.

This book on Marie Antoinette has lured me back to Barnes&Noble's new online book clubs and I greatly look forward to participating in the group. That the author will be a participant is a definite plus.

I was drawn to the book because the idea of learning more of a child being drawn into a world both alien, (speaking a different language and country,) and familiar, (another royal family,) was fascinating. To see, as well, a child thrust into the role of an adult in a high stakes world of royal intrigue is one that I have yet to encounter.





It takes my breath away that a child of fourteen would be so imbued with the royal notion of sacrifice for the good of the state, that she could go willingly, happily to her fate. I will be fascinated to see the development of her worldliness in the face of reality as the book develops. (I am only at the point at which she is about to be wed.) This is genuine culture clash for me as I have been fortunate enough to marry, live and work on my own terms in America. I know there are classmates of mine from college in Massachusetts who married to solidify family position, and I have always wondered how they have fared as members of America's "royalty".
New User
f1aming0
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Registered: ‎08-06-2007
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Re: Introduce Yourselves!



rkubie wrote:
Here's a place where we can all say hello as we get started. Are you a regular reader of historical fiction? What fascinations does the figure of Marie Antoinette hold for you?


Hello All! I'm new to the book club and look forward to discussing this book, which I will be purchasing today. I love all kinds of books, biographies, mysteries, suspence and of course historical fiction. I've read all of the Boylen series, and just finished a biography on Nell Gwynn.
New User
Groa
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎08-08-2007
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Re: Introduce Yourselves!

I am so excited to see Sena Jeter Naslund on this forum! I have not seen these discussions before and it is a thrill to see she participates here.

I am a long-time historical fiction fan (I can give anyone who wants suggestions a huge list of wonderful books) and my all-time favorite, most recommended book EVER is Sena Jeter Naslund's "Ahab's Wife." (I have bought so many copies to give friends, I have lost count.) I didn't want that book to end, loved loved loved it! If any of you have not read her work before, do please read "Ahab's Wife." I cannot WAIT to read her newest. Salivating...who needs chocolate when you have her?
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Groa
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Registered: ‎08-08-2007
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Re: Introduce Yourselves!

jd, look into Dorothy Dunnett's series "The Lyman Chronicles."
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