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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What an unpleasant main character, April 26, 2011
By 
Susan Wiser (Lincoln, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Apology for the Woman Writing (Paperback)
I read this book because of my current interest in novels set in France. This one takes place during the late 1500's, which is a period I know little about and the premise sounded interesting. I was very disappointed, however. Although the quality of the writing is good (that's why I ranked it with 2 stars instead of 1), I found the main character of the novel intensely irritating. She is a self-absorbed, arrogant, socially obtuse person. And on top of that she is a mediocre writer. Further, the story of her life isn't especially interesting. I wonder what the author hoped to achieve with this book. At least it gave me an excuse to make myself learn a bit more about the Huguenots, who are mentioned in passing.
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3.0 out of 5 stars 'to be the fille d'alliance of Michel de Montaigne is to be better than a princess', August 6, 2012
By 
sally tarbox (aylesbury bucks uk) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Apology for the Woman Writing (Paperback)
Historical novel based on the bookish Marie de Gournay who discovers the essays of Michel de Montaigne and resolves to meet the great man and to become part of the literary world herself- unheard of in the late 1500s.
'The more she read and the more Latin she learned, the more it seemed to Marie that an entire and good life might be spent in the company of books. Any other of the few possibilities open to her would be an interruption to her reading...She resolved to be neither a nun nor a wife. She could see nothing wrong with just reading books.'
Marie does meet the - much older - Montaigne and becomes his 'adopted daughter' (a fact of which she makes much throughout the rest of her life). Her own somewhat over-the-top literary efforts have limited success; most of her time is devoted to helping revise Montaigne's work.
While Marie certainly achieved things most 16th century women never dreamt of, her life was largely spent poring over manuscripts and as such is perhaps an unlikely subject for a book. A fallible character, she nonetheless remained a little 2-dimensional to me.
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Apology for the Woman Writing
Apology for the Woman Writing by Jenny Diski (Paperback - September 1, 2011)
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