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The Way I Found Her


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'This novel has the sparkle of sunlight on water...once more Rose Tremain beguiles you into suspending disbelief' Independent on Sunday

About the Author

Rose Tremain's bestselling novels have been published in thirty countries and have won many awards, including the Orange Prize (The Road Home), the Whitbread Novel of the Year (Music & Silence) and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize (Sacred Country); Restoration was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Rose Tremain was made a CBE in 2007 and was appointed Chancellor of the University of East Anglia in 2013. She lives in Norfolk and London with the biographer, Richard Holmes.


Tremain takes risks in making the protagonist of her new novel a clever, precocious and inquisitive 13-year-old boy, but this gifted writer (Restoration) succeeds brilliantly in creating an intensely imagined and sophisticated story. Lewis Little and his mother, Alice, leave their home in Devon to spend the summer in Paris, where Alice will translate wealthy Russian expatriate writer Valentina Gavrilovich's latest medieval romance. Initially reluctant, Lewis is smitten by the beauties of Paris and by the bewitching (though 40-ish) Valentina, who comes up to his attic bedroom at night and listens to his halting translation of the classic, neo-romantic Alain-Fournier fable, Le Grand Meaulnes, which, in an ironic plot twist, is to have enormous relevance to Lewis's life. His hormones surging, Lewis develops a crush on Valentina even as he is becoming estranged from Alice, who has embarked on an affair with a roofer called Diderot, a budding philosopher who teaches Lewis the basics of existentialism. Lewis, a bit of a philosopher himself, perceives with resignation the emotional disjunction between his loving but inadequate father and his startlingly beautiful but moody and self-centered mother. As the summer progresses, Lewis makes friends only with adultsÄBaba, a black maid from Benin; Moinel, the courageous next-door neighbor; Valentina's aged motherÄand begins to understand why some adults behave badly, commit adultery, plagiarism and worse. When Valentina suddenly goes missing and the police investigation lags, Lewis draws on his logical mind and keen observational instincts to try to find her, but what seems a grand adventure suddenly brings him into terrible danger. A typical brainy, na‹ve adolescent who indulges in romantic fantasies, Lewis is entirely credible as he slowly acquires a sad wisdom and insight. This mesmerizing and immensely affecting novel almost begs for rereading to fully appreciate the subtlety with which Tremain ties the lessons of literature and life into a haunting parable of innocence lost. (June)

Think A Separate Peace and The Catcher in the Rye, throw in dashes of Collette and Fran‡oise Sagan, center all these elements with a genuine mystery at the core, and you have Tremain's wonderfully bittersweet novel of a boy on the brink of manhood, puzzling over life and love as the hot Paris summer sizzles and burns. Lewis Little has come to Paris with Alice, his dazzlingly beautiful mother, to improve his French while she translates best-selling novelist Valentina Gavrilovitch's latest medieval romance into English. Bright Lewis, almost 14, still playing with action figures and dreaming of passion, has an inkling that this summer is the turning point of his life. And change it does, as he falls in love with the glistening, fortyish Valentina. An intriguing cast of characters passes his way, and then Valentina disappears. Lewis's determination to find Valentina will lead to tragedy, but Tremain keeps the reader hooked until the startling ending. This book has the marks of a coming-of-age classic. Restoration, LJ 2/1/90), Tremain's last novel, was short-listed for the Booker Prize and made into a film. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/98.]ÄJo Manning, Univ. of Miami Lib., Coral Gables, FL

"A scary, funny and ultimately very affecting novel... Tremain lets us glimpse the adult-in-waiting; reminds us that life - tinged with joy, sex, pain - takes its whole shape from such moments" -- Julie Myerson * Mail on Sunday *
"The Way I Found Her is a magical invention of page-turning suspense, of sadness, grief and passion, whose sure and delicate exposure of a sensibility flowering one hot Parisian summer teaches us the price of experience. Do not miss it" -- Elizabeth Buchan * The Times *
"Quite simply magnificent" * The Times *

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