"And if I had to do it over, would I choose to live my life differently?"
"Nor does it matter, really, if Axel was my lover, in the physical sense at least. That isn't what matters, I know that now. It matters to historians, most of them men. Il matters to gossips, most of them women. The pleasure is in the speculation."
"You can always come to a place, even if it is not there anymore."
For the first time in my life I have to agree fully with all the blurbs and reviews from the back cover – this is a poetic, powerful and bewitching novel. Davis’s is not a conventional historical novel – actually not a historical novel at all - and all the better for it: it’s a series of disconnected scenes, episodes, tableaux from the life of Marie Antoinette and from the history of Versailles that is best appreciated if the reader is already familiar with the underlying topic.
It’s quite experimental from the point of view of form: it includes some 1st person narration, some 3rd person chapters and some drama scenes. Some of it is a stream of consciousness, some a flow of images. Some of it is witty and some of it is moving and melancholic. This variety adds to the beauty of this work and helps the reader undestand Marie Antoinette’s personality and life story – all the boredom, sadness, loneliness, humiliation and terror she must have experienced. Some parts are a bit obscure, uncanny, erratic, and form an evocative mosaic of a place and of the people who inhabited it. Davis managed to capture the nature and the spirit of its subject matter, especially of Marie Antoinette, and to forge a deeply poetic, imaginative and haunting piece of writing in which the palace’s architecture mirrors its inhabitants' personality and embodies history and its intricacies and interconnections....Continua