It is 1948 and a young American couple arrive in France for a holiday, full of anticipation and enthusiasm But the countryside and people are war battered, and their reception at the Chateau Beaumesnil is not all the open hearted Americans could wish for.
The Chateau It is and a young American couple arrive in France for a holiday full of anticipation and enthusiasm But the countryside and people are war battered and their reception at the Chateau Beaumesni
This is a well written Maxwell doesn t write any other way novel with a nostalgic feel again, Maxwell doesn t seem to write any other way , with the longer first part of two reading almost like a travel diary at times and just when you re wondering, near the end of that first part, what it might all mean, you arrive at the second part, which is almost meta fiction, and requires the first part to achieve its ends Though the novel is not at all derivative, Maxwell s love for Virginia Woolf shines [...]
I had never read any Maxwell before, nor based upon the descriptions of his other work, am I likely to do so those themes just don t interest me But, I decided to spend an Audible credit on this one, after listening to the sample A good choice as it turned out.Without rehashing the plot too much , a young American couple tour Europe in 1948, during the rebuilding of the former war zone For the first part of the book, they re based at a country estate of a family that takes in lodgers to make end [...]
A strange book When I try and say what it s about, all I can think to say is that it s about a couple on vacation But there s so much Maxwell captures perfectly the feelings of alienation in the traveler There s the social disappointments, the inadvertent offense given, the anxiety about being taken advantage of The book has its own weird sort of suspense It s by no means a potboiler, but you read to find out what s behind the mysterious behavior of other characters and to see if the Americans [...]
It s ridiculous but I have put off this review of William Maxwell s The Chateau for over six months Why Well for the uninitiated Maxwell was a legendary mentor for many famous writer of his day and he edited The New Yorker from 1936 to 1975 So, how dare I critique his work What could I have to say But of course the other part of me was fascinated What were his novels like The Chateau intrigued me Two young Americans visit in France in 1948.Quite straight forward to start with Harold and Barbara [...]
What a refreshing change from the hectic melodrama of Haweswater Maxwell s style is clipped and urbane, of its time 1961 with a hint of modernism talking furniture Somehow what should be a mundane travel journal with no plot to speak of is endlessly captivating, as the naive young American couple Harold and Barbara fall in love with France but consistently struggle to grasp what s going on around them and understand all the subtle nuances of social interaction with the family they stay with and [...]
Maxwell, William THE CHATEAU 1961 I ve said it before Maxwell was one of America s finest writers This novel though not his best demonstrates how he was able to enfold the reader into a story where nothing dramatic really happens It tells the story of Harold and Barbara, a young couple married for three years, and their trip to France on vacation in 1948 They spend most of their time in the Loire Valley, at the chateau of Mme Viennot as paying guests Mme Viennot is one of those impoverished ari [...]
A strange novel really I discovered William Maxwell by picking up a copy of his novella They Came Like Swallows , which I loved, but this never quite gets going It s the story of an American couple visiting France just after the Second World War, and the various French friends that they make along the way It s a study of the friendships that we make when travelling, and though there is a precision and clarity to the writing that I enjoyed, it felt like an idea for another novella bloated by a pu [...]
This is a rare gem of a book It is so perfect in its depiction of traveling and falling in love with another country that, not only would I not change a word, I found section after section I wanted to absorb into my skin Although written sixty years ago and set just after World War II, the interactions and reactions of a young American couple with the French and in France remain relevant, painful, hilarious, and true Its peaceful pace belies the profound transformation of its principal character [...]
Enough Bastante Abbastanza I m not gonna try to read this any Can this be the same author who wrote the pointed and precise So Long, See You Tomorrow I spent days and days forcing myself to keep trying with this book It was all I could do to get through a chapter a day, sometimes not even that I made it to page 138 It felt like drudgery than an enjoyable reading experience, so I quit The book has its good moments I stayed with it as long as I did because it was interesting to see what travel in [...]
Having read most of the book before our Book Group meeting I felt that I should perhaps finish it Now I wish I hadn t wasted my time Such a tedious trek through Barbara and Harold s holiday and not saved by the final chapter Some Explanations which were also uninteresting I will be glad to remove this book from my bookshelf.
Despite my fascination with The New Yorker, I only found out about this writer through the TLS and had to buy it at the time from and it sounded like the perfect book to buy for an upcoming trip to France Maxwell s gentle prose and nostalgic story grabbed me at a time when I was no longer reading many novels and I fell completely in love with it.
This was a very delicate, slow book, and without spoiling anything it remained realistically focused on alienation and interior motives I kept waiting for the kicker, the twist, the dark side of human nature to pop up, but no, this book was faithful to the good natured and well intentioned misunderstandings, frustrations, and miscommunications of being a foreigner Post war France was obviously not all roses and daisies, which the idealistic couple slowly learns as they tour bullet pocked towns, [...]
I loved this book, but I think it s not for every reader The writing is beautiful and in some places feels a bit experimental which sometimes works, and sometimes doesn t The story is about an American couple on a months long vacation in Europe, though it focuses specifically on their time in France, and much of the book is set during their two weeks in a country chateau, where they are paying guests Nothing happens in this book It is very deliberately paced The narrative tension comes through t [...]
A rich and romantic story of a young American couple visiting France shortly after WW2 not Maxwell s best but still enjoyable As Howard and Barbara Rhodes fall in love with France and its culture, they want to BE French and relate on an easy and intimate level with everyone they meet Of course this isn t possible, and there is much self examination and recrimination, as well as self congratulation when they get it right The motives of their hosts and new acquaintances are often mysterious and im [...]
An American couple, early in their marriage, spend a couple of months sightseeing in France soon after the second world war They stay at a chateau belonging to an older woman and meet several relatives and friends There is confusion at times about others feelings towards them because of difference in language and culture They also spend time in Paris, enjoying many of the attractions of the city and they visit other chateaus in the countryside The only plot seems to be their interaction with oth [...]
The Chateau doesn t measure up to William Maxwell s best novels in any way I m a big fan of Maxwell s lean, simple, evocative, very human writing, but this book was slow and dull it s a big disappointment for those weened on Maxwell s much better novels such as Time Will Darken It one of my favorites I confess I couldn t even make it through The Chateau, though I got well into it, hoping it would improve I feel bad for those whose first Maxwell is this novel they have no idea how good he can be. [...]
Gave up half way through, because it was so tedious Watching paint dry would have been scintillating in comparison.Harold and Barbara have breakfast in the French chateau they are holidaying in Harold and Barbara go on an excursion Harold and Barbara have lunch Harold and Barbara go on an excursion Harold and Barbara have dinner with their equally boring guests Harold and Barbara go to bed in their cold, damp room.Repeat for 402 pages, and rue the fortnight of your life that you will never retri [...]
I tried to finish this but couldn t An American couple staying in France and paying money to stay in a Chateau but didn t like asking to have hot water, having use of bicycles etc Blah The story before they got to the Chateau was the most interesting Once I found I was skipping pages I realised it was time to stop
An interesting read that I am still thinking about, wondering how much my thoughts are influenced by having lived in France for six years, so I don t see it through the eyes of someone who hasn t encountered french culture up close, like someone in between, not on the inside, not quite on the outside either.
Mmmmmm a perfect depiction of miscommunications and misunderstandings between cultures and languages Lacks passion, humor, or illicitation of any feelings other then oh, that s too bad for them Forgettable
I was a bit disappointed I found it a bit rambling.
Moral of the story Americans and Europeans just don t get each other Particularly not after a war experience that was hugely different for each.
I really liked his reflections on being abroad, but I didn t get anything out of the story itself I would have preferred a non fiction essay by him on travel, living abroad, etc.
William Maxwell Great writer The Chateau Not his best.Worth reading, nonetheless.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book during my first visit to Paris At first, it reads like a travelogue with a young American couple visiting different parts of Europe right after WWII But the novel has excellent internal monologue as the narrator always worries that he has misspoken, mispronounced or been misunderstood It is an excellent take on being an outsider in a foreign land and never feeling quite at home, even when you can speak the language fairly well Having just been to Paris, I l [...]
I looooove Maxwell But the only interesting part of this book is how the American couple are shunned and retreat, then charmed and sucked back in I keep skipping paragraphs and skimming, and I think, though I am 1 2 through, I might abandon this clunker Interested in how others could rate it above a 2.5 Even his prose seems flat and un engaging to me.
I can t decide between 3 and four stars This book took me a long time to get through, but it has an intangible quality to it that I really enjoyed, which is one reason I kept reading It s also beautifully written and takes place in France, and I m a total Francophile so I was bound to enjoy it.
Absolutely loved it Completely identified with the couple and their experiences on holiday.
A refreshing account set in post war France, at times funny and clever It s lighthearted and insightful at the same time I felt I was living in France as a visitor as are Harold and Barbara in the story I liked its open hearted and non cynical tone a lot.