All He Ever Wanted: A Novel (Anglais) Broché – 20 janvier 2004
|Neuf à partir de||Occasion à partir de|
Produits fréquemment achetés ensemble
Les clients ayant acheté cet article ont également acheté
Descriptions du produit
Présentation de l'éditeur
Biographie de l'auteur
Aucun appareil Kindle n'est requis. Téléchargez l'une des applis Kindle gratuites et commencez à lire les livres Kindle sur votre smartphone, tablette ou ordinateur.
Pour obtenir l'appli gratuite, saisissez votre adresse e-mail ou numéro de téléphone mobile.
Détails sur le produit
En savoir plus sur l'auteur
Dans ce livre(En savoir plus)
Commentaires en ligne
Meilleurs commentaires des clients
Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
All He Ever Wanted begins during a fire when Nicholas Van Tassel, a professor at a small college in New Hampshire, spots a young woman and accompanies her home that evening. Almost immediately Nicholas becomes besotted with the woman Ms. Etna Bliss and begins courting her. From this point of the narrative, Shreve moves the scene to a time many years later as Nicholas recounts the story of his love for Etna on a train as he is bound for his sister's funeral in Florida. At this point Shreve becomes almost a modern day Edith Wharton as through Nicholas we come to learn about his views of society in the early 1900's through 1930. As readers, we watch as Nicholas becomes further obsessed with Etna, thwarts a rival for a competitive position at the college and eventually comes under scrutiny for a transgression he did many years before. And as these events are taking place we also watch as Nicholas' and Etna's relationship begins to spiral out of control and wonder how this will all be resolved. For in the end all Nicholas ever wanted is the love of Etna.
I highly recommend this book to those readers who have enjoyed Anita Shreve in the past and for those who may want to read her for the first time. The author has a wonderful ability to put her readers right between the pages of the book. In addition the narrative evokes the language and society of the 1900's. Shreve has done an excellent job of describing these events from the point of view of a man deeply in love and this book makes for a very worthwhile read. I enjoyed it so much that I rated it among my ten top favorite reads for 2003.
Etna's "handsome" face, her lovely waist and her other womanly attributes haunt his every thought. Even her name, Bliss, brings lusty thoughts to his mind (and starts my skin to crawling). His infatuation is all consuming and before long he begins to pursue her with all of the gusto of a starving dog drooling over a choice bit of meat. She eventually agrees to a date where he learns, a bit to his dismay, that she has a brain as well as fine breasts and is surprisingly literate. They read stories together and seem to get along well but when he makes a move or turns the conversation towards the personal she immediately gives him the cold shoulder. I should add that Nicholas is described as the most un-athletic man on earth with a slight paunch and a balding pate. The sexual attraction seems entirely one-sided and a bit creepy. At this point I would've put the book aside unfinished as I found Nicholas Van Tassel boring beyond belief and far too pompous. However, since I was listening to this in its unabridged format and I was stuck in traffic I continued to torture myself with Nicholas Van Tassel's words (expertly read by a narrator who reads in a purposely haughty way).
Despite the fact that Etna does not return his feelings of undying love he insists that they marry and, oddly enough, she agrees! Thus begins their awkward life together. During their years of marriage they parent two children (and, thakfully, we are spared the oogey details of their sterile love making ~ thank you Mr. Van Tassel for speedily skipping by those bits and saving me a few shudders!) and seem to get along decently enough as they plod along through their days. Nicholas gives Etna a nice life and the freedom to do whatever she wishes but sadly the love Nicholas aches for is never returned by Etna. Nicholas, the poor love starved sap, is grateful just to have her for his wife and doesn't complain about her complete lack of affection towards him. But things begin to change when he discovers that Etna has been hiding things from him. This is where the book finally picked up and actually engaged my full attention.
At this point Nicholas *almost* becomes a sympathetic character if you can believe it (though he is still a thoroughly unpleasant fellow)! He is riddled with insecurities and although he has been married to a woman he cherishes for years he will never be a happy or successful man. His world begins to spiral out of control as he simultaneously discovers Etna's been keeping secrets and learns the position he's been longing to have at the University may be forever out of his reach.
Nicholas's festering jealously and over-reaction to Etna's secret (which was odd but not nearly as devastatingly earth-shattering as I'd anticipated), however, ruin any smidgen of pity I may have felt for him just a few chapters earlier. Author Shreve successfully paints an unpleasant picture of a thoroughly unpleasant man caught up in a situation of his own making. Reading Nicolas Van Tassel's vitriolic comments and actions for pages on end was a depressing experience that I won't be repeating any time soon!
Written entirely from the point of view of a stodgy male college professor circa 1900, this is the story of a passion so intense, so unlike the writer himself, that it is scarcely believable, especially when related in the stilted flowery language of the day.
Nicholas Van Tassel, a rather ordinary pedantic with nothing particularly unusual about him, happens to be in a hotel restaurant when it catches fire. This single pivotal episode in his otherwise unremarkable life changes him forever--it is during the rescue effort that he encounters Miss Etna Bliss, and falls head over heels into a passion that borders on, indeed IS, an obsession.
Hampered by the extreme rules of etiquette governing proper men and women of the day, Van Tassel nevertheless pursues Miss Bliss, finally persuading her to marry him despite her the fact that, as she honestly tells him, she does not love him. Love will come, thinks Van Tassel, hardly able to believe his luck in winning his prize. And that hope, that fantasy, that overwhelming obsession of his entire being, eventually destroys the narrator, his wife, and his entire family.
Shreve stays in character completely and thoroughly, managing to evoke the failings of the man himself, the restrictions of the society in which he lives, and the hopelessness of his obsession without ever once betraying herself. It is safe to say that the author stays well in the background while letting Van Tassel tell his own tragic story.
I consider this book a minor masterpiece. Shreve is an acquired taste, I know--but truly innovative and absolutely original in every book she writes. "All He Ever Wanted" is no exception.
The source of Etna's power -- perhaps the very power itself -- is her ability to hold a part of herself back from her husband and family. She keeps secrets, both of fact and of feeling, so that her integrity as a person can't be breached by a husband who feels entitled to know and own her totally. I identified deeply with Etna's need to do this, as I believe many women will who have been married to men who at first seemed innocuous but after a few years of marriage are revealed to be unbearably possessive. In self defense, Etna must keep her true self contained and hidden from her husband's impulse toward emotional rape.
While that may sound a bit strong, it seems very legitimate to me. I found the fact that Etna creates a personal studio space for herself -- and keeps it secret from her husband -- a natural response to his overwhelming intrusiveness. It's a testament to Shreve's ability to finely draw her characters that a reader such as myself can so thoroughly identify with the heroine's emotions, as well as feel stifled by a fictional character such as the husband.
Overall, this is a very good novel with enough depth and action to entertain readers without being shallow.
"All He Ever Wanted" is a heart-wrenching account of unrequited love, obsession, jealousy and betrayal; exploring the most intense (and at times, darkest) workings of the human heart. Dreary and rather depressing, this candid narrative painstakingly chronicles a marriage of convenience gone sadly awry. It is written in the voice of Nicholas van Tassel, an English literary professor at a small college in New England as he ponders upon the memories of his fateful past...
One harrowing evening after escaping a restaurant fire, van Tassel happens upon the striking Etna Bliss and is instantaneously enraptured. Here commences their somewhat stifled and confusing courtship. Ultimately, their marriage forces each character to make critical compromises that will change their lives forever: Man gives up romantic ideal of marriage (knowing full well his wife does not love him) if only to `possess' her for himself; Woman relinquishes hope of marrying someone she loves and settles instead for a man who offers her freedom and a degree of independence (which is ultimately counterfeit).
Although the story is a little slow and one-dimensional at the outset, as the plot proceeds the reader will be taken in by the rich detail and character definition that quickly develops. The letters between certain characters were also a nice touch, allowing a glimpse into their personal thoughts - a unique perspective for the reader, digressing temporarily from the narrator's recital.
All in all, I must say I was thoroughly impressed by Shreve's shrewd portrayal of affections not reciprocated in "All He Ever Wanted"...it is a theme all too familiar in the human game of love.
Rechercher des articles similaires par rubrique
- Livres anglais et étrangers > Boutiques > Chercher au Coeur! > Livres en anglais
- Livres anglais et étrangers > Literature & Fiction > Contemporary
- Livres anglais et étrangers > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction
- Livres anglais et étrangers > Mystery & Thrillers > Thrillers > Psychological & Suspense