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Paperback Victorine Book

ISBN: 0385721269

ISBN13: 9780385721264


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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

In 1899, Victorine Texier abandons her small French village, her husband, and her two young children to follow her lover to Indochina. She has fallen for Antoine, her childhood sweetheart, and when his work sends him to Asia she is compelled to go with him, and to leave everything she knows behind. Their five weeks together onboard the ship to Indochina are a kind of honeymoon, a prelude to their liberation in a sultry new world of frangipani trees...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

"She closes her eyes. She cannot remember more."

Victorine is an absolutely gorgeous novel. Lucid, poetic, romantic and sensual, the story tells of one young woman's defiance of social convention in the latter part of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Victorine, a young schoolteacher, lives in Vendee, a quiet province of France. She becomes pregnant at an early age to Armand, and in keeping with the propriety of the time, is forced to marry him. But Victorine's heart is with the blond, virile wonderer, Antoine, and in a fit of lust and abandon, she embarks on a highly passionate affair. Falling desperately in love, and trapped in a loveless marriage that is like an "ever-tightening corset," Victorine abandons her husband and her two children, Madeleine and Daniel. Together with her new lover, and tormented by guilt and remorse, she travels to Indochina to start a new life. Told in a type of duel narrative that effectively switches backwards and forwards in time - from eighteen ninety nine to nineteen forty - we journey back with Victorine to her home in France with her family, and to her adventures with Antoine along the Mekong River. Victorine is torn between the question of love and the question of marriage, and for her, marriage for love seems to be forever rendered moot. But she can't resist Antoine's desire and ends up defying the entire social rules that she's been bought up with. She describes herself as "always cold in the early winters" of her marriage and she wonders if there is something amiss in her heart. It is as though she has kept the feelings of Antoine's "fingers on her wrist buried under the smooth surface of her life."The novel is quite compelling because of the power of its thought and its writing, and it steadily crescendos towards Victorine's decision to abandon Armand and her children. Her small, original lies gradually blossom into elaborate stories as she tries desperately to keep her affair with Antoine a secret from her family. She realizes she's only buying time in a land of "fuzzy boundaries" where truth - already a shaky concept, gradually gets corrupted, and irremediably altered. Texier has crafted a complex portrait of a woman who is a dreamer longing to escape, and who is irrevocably bound by stuffy conventions.Texier's style is deceptively reserved, quietly crafted, and with a simple beauty that is impossible not to like. Witness the "sun melting in apricot trails along the horizon," and the "moonlight playing silver circles on her naked arms." And the colours of Indochina: yellow stucco and green shutters, the smells of frangipani, jasmine, overripe mangos, and dried fish. Texier writes throughout with a fine ear for the sound and rhythms of her sentences and there is a constant pleasure in reading her prose. She also has a way of describing Victorine's sensuality while managing to avoid judging her actions. Like the loosening of her corset, which she does with a sigh of relief, her sensuality awakens and also becomes loose; it suddenly appears to

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this novel is not your typical love story, where we follow the heroine down a predictable path in order to achieve happiness in the standard sense. Victorine is a torn women who sacrifices something dear to her, with the goal of escaping her mediocre and monotonous life. The result is a tumultuous ride through an exotic land, ending not as you might think. The book is phenonmenal, if not just for the crafty prose, than for the mere fact that the author takes a huge risk: She gives us a main character whose actions we might not agree with, but makes us root for her regardless. The tale is extraordinary, but there is a certain sensibilty to this book that undeniably conveys the angst that comes from the human condition. Read this book, it will leave you with a poignant, yet fresh perspective on life.

A Must Read

I feel compelled to write this review for a few reasons. One is that I absolutely loved this novel. It is beautifully written, impossible to put down and extremely evocative. Another reason, is that I have read 2 reviews condemning Ms. Texier for being "too gentle" with her main character, "Victorine." Yes, this is a story about a woman who has an affair and painfully decides to leave her children to pursue a relationship with her lover in, what was then, Indochina. Ms. Texier makes no apologies or excuses for Victorine. As a woman it was very hard for me to read the section where she finally leaves her children. I just couldn't understand it-as much as I was excited by her new love, I could not accept that she would just abandon her children. But it doesn't matter if it made me uncomfortable or if I would not go down the same path. It wasn't Ms. Texier's job as a writer to soften the blow or to pass judgement and she didn't; and I respect her for this. There is love and excitement and amazing descriptions in this novel but there is also an overwhelming sense of sadness that can be felt through-out. Possibly because the novel is really Victorine looking back on her life, as an older woman; so her memories are shaded with the knowledge of what was to come. "Victorine" is hauntingly beautiful and just a wonderful read! I highly recommend!


this novel is a beautifully written story, based in part on the author's great grandmother, who, in 1899 leaves her family to go to indochina with another man with whom she falls in love. this is a wonderful love story that combines the lifestyles and times of france and indochina. it is written in three distinct timeframes, which add texture and reflection to this remarkable woman.this is a sensually written novel, one that every woman i know will enjoy reading. i highly recommend this book.

A Great Book

This is a great book that mixes history with biography. Catherine Texier has written many interesting books in the past. This is another fine one.
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