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The Suitors Paperback – February 26, 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Other Press (February 26, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590515730
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590515730
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #645,198 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“A charming peek behind the curtain of French high society as only the ultimate insider can. Cécile David-Weill’s novel is a delicious romp and I loved reading it!” —Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa cookbooks and TV

“I loved Cécile David-Weill’s ‘Suitors,’ a charming comedy of manners set at a country estate in the South of France, apparently one of the few places in the world where anyone still has enough manners to make a comedy about.” —Andrew Solomon, New York Times Book Review

“Cécile David-Weill’s delightful novel of manners is a witty mix of wisdom and tongue-in-cheek humor touched with a decadent zest of Frenchiness. Irrésistible!” —Tatiana de Rosnay, author of The House I Loved, A Secret Kept, and Sarah’s Key

"If you've ever wondered what Downton Abbey would be like if it were set in the South of France during our current century, then pick up this smart novel de charme immediately...The intimate, fascinating detail with which Cécile David-Weill describes this society—complete with seating charts and chauffer pick-up schedules—is what elevates this book from a mere romp through old-money families of France into an intelligent, engaging study of a society that seems as if it should be extinct by now." —Oprah.com

"The Suitors sets out to be a farce and a frolic, but throughout there is an undertone of nostalgia and wistfulness for a disappearing way of life." —Wall Street Journal

"Deceptively charming and delightful, this novel by the French American David-Weill (Crush) portrays class issues and changing mores with the kind of intelligent taste that would make the Ettinguers proud." —Library Journal

“Combining a sociologist’s eye for class nuances with wit as dry and sparkling as the best Champagne, Cécile David-Weill has drawn a meticulously observed, wickedly funny portrait of the 0.001%. Her protagonist Laure, a self-described ‘freemason of refinement,’ is determined to find a suitable savior for her family’s legendarily, but discreetly, luxurious house in the South of France; to that end, she tirelessly decodes the signs of old-school elegance and nouveau riche striving that abound (and clash, to hilarious effect) among the house’s revolving cast of art collectors and film stars, social climbers and grandes dames, sadistic nannies and billionaire yogis. The result is a sharply perceptive and addictively amusing insider’s look at today’s superrich—a direct heir to Edith Wharton’s and Marcel Proust’s portrayals of an earlier Gilded Age, and destined for a classic status all its own.”  —Caroline Weber, the author of Queen of Fashion: What Marie-Antoinette Wore to the Revolution

"An entertaining and beautifully observed glimpse into the rarefied lives of the French one percent. Imagine Downton Abbey transported to a chic house in modern day south of France." —Ivana Lowell, author of Why Not Say What Happened?

“A deliciously intimate look at the hijinks of the tres, tres rich on the Cote d’Azur. I laughed on every page, but don’t be fooled. The Suitors is above all a meditation on the inevitability of change.” —Patricia Volk, author of Stuffed and Shocked: My Mother, Schiaparelli, and Me.

"Laure is disarming and witty, and serves as a charming guide who takes us inside the world of the very rich—and the no longer so." —The Daily Beast

“Cécile David-Weill gives readers an insider’s tour of the French upper classes frolicking in a grand villa on the Cote d’Azur where life is meals and proper etiquette is serious business. Beneath the hilarious portrayal of intellectuals, film stars, and the aristocratic elite is the poignant story of two sisters caught in the nostalgic longing for their childhood summers and a precious way of life. Like those sweet French macaroon cookies, this is a novel you will delight in until the very last page.” —Katharine Davis, author of Capturing Paris

"[A] delightful rendering of L’Agapanthe, an old French family’s summer estate on Cap d’Antibes dedicated to the art of gracious living...David-Weill draws readers in as graciously as any good hostess, but because of her personal background—she comes from an old-monied French family who vacation on Cap d’Antibes—readers may wonder if this is a roman à clef and will likely try to play a who’s who guessing game." —Publishers Weekly

"It’s filled with the all the comforts (and the ridiculousness) of traditions and habits old and new. Sumptuous descriptions of the estate and their elaborate meals make for a charming read in more ways than one." —Linus's Blanket

"The design of Suitors is delightful, with menus, schedules of arrivals of guests, seating arrangements, and other special pages that make is a lovely thing to hold in your hand." —Mary's Library

“The idea of this ‘behind closed doors’ among the ultra-rich is excellent and merciless in its charms…we can imagine seeing the film, and the realization is brilliant: it’s Vanity Fair meets Rules of the Game. You laugh a lot, you try to guess who is who, and you learn useful things.” —Christophe Ono-dit-Biot, Le Point

"
Like a French Nancy Mitford, Cecil David-Weill (daughter of a former chairman of Lazard Freres) is at her most interesting when she’s parsing the manners of the super-rich, explaining why offering a Jet Ski as a hostess gift is simply never done."—Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Like Downton Abbey but French, this confection of a novel is light as a macaron and just as sweet and nostalgic. " —Elle

About the Author

Cécile David-Weill is French and American. She published her first novel, Beguin (Grasset, 1996) under the name of Cécile de la Baume, which was released in an English translation, Crush (Grove, 1997). She is also the author of Femme de (Grasset, 2002). The Suitors is her third novel. Cécile is also a regular contributor to the online French news magazine Le Point, with a column entitled “Letters from New York.” She was born in New York, where she currently lives.
 
Linda Coverdale has translated more than sixty books. A Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, she won the 2004 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the 2006 Scott Moncrieff Prize, and the 1997 and 2008 French-American Foundation Translation Prize. She was a finalist for the 2008 French-American Foundation Translation Prize for Life Laid Bare (Other Press, 2007).

More About the Author

Cécile David-Weill is French and American. She began her career in publishing. She published her first novel, Beguin (Grasset, 1996) under the name of Cécile de la Baume, which was released in an English translation, Crush (Grove, 1997). She is also the author of Femme de (Grasset, 2002). The Suitors is her third novel. Cécile is also a regular contributor to the online French news magazine Le Point, with a column entitled "Letters from New York." She was born in New York, where she currently lives.

Customer Reviews

I found this book boring and basically unreadable.
Scett Twysden
I kept reading hoping there would be something at least a little bit exciting happening towards the end, but nothing!
Nena Engen
No plot; no attractive characters, commonplace writing.
Nancy Talbot Doty

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 24 people found the following review helpful By C. E. Selby on March 6, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
With parents who "had been brought up with the idea that they represented the pinnacle of chic," the narrator pulls in the reader who soon knows this is going to be a fun romp through 400 pages in a very tasteful looking book. (Avoid Kindle for this one.) "Blissfully ignorant of the insecurity that drives human beings to study their reflections in the eyes of others," the first-person narrator daughter writes, "...my parents simply weren't observant enough to imagine that anyone might fantasize about them." So to L'Agapanthe, "the good house," the family retreats each summer, a place with its dumbwaiters, a kitchen for cooks, a pantry for butlers, a place the owners have invited "people chosen for their conversation, their beauty, their culture, or because they were jolly, kind, inspired...."
Life is formal at "the good house,"a Mediterranean villa built around a loggia..." overlooking the sea, "the complete opposite of a house with a view.... The garden creates "harmony between indoors and outdoors," linking "the house to the sea...a theater...where the lawn is the stage, the rooms are the box seats, and the terrace forms the orchestra pit...."
But there is a twist as the parents "revealed their vulnerable side." They have aged with the two daughters now much sought-after women. Oh, the twist. L'Agapanthe is to be put up for sale, not because the parents need the money, but... Well, that is for you, the potential reader, to discover. And, like me, you may see that this is somewhat the French version of "Downton Abbey" albeit a contemporary version.
The narrator is a psychotherapist and her sister an interpreter for--yes!--the President of the Republic. The narrator is divorced and has a young son.
Will the sisters need to find themselves sugardaddies, a couple of Mr.
Read more ›
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By MaryAnne Cohen on June 30, 2013
Format: Paperback
The Suitors promises to be an enjoyable read given its setting in the South of France. Nothing could be further from the truth. It was pretentious, boring, irritating, with not one redeeming character that will interest you. The bottom line: we don't care about any of the characters or the plot. By the way, could someone please tell me if the author's photo on the back cover is a real face or a plastic mask? I stared at it and couldn't come to a conclusion. Even the photo was annoying!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Talbot Doty on October 11, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Advance reviews of "The Suitors" promised much, delivered virtually nothing. No plot; no attractive characters, commonplace writing. Two young women seek wealthy husband to save family home; don't find them; give up. So what?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By elizabeth on March 20, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Almost nothing but descriptions of a house and meals, presumably those of the author's own immensely wealthy family.
The comparisons to Jane Austen are preposterous. Those who contributed blurbs must be friends of the writer. One star is far more than it rates.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cece Brune on October 8, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I usually enjoy this sort of commentary on manners and society, but this book lacked so many important story elements that it was more like reading disjointed notes than a novel. I'm not sure how many pages were actually "story", but after a few seating charts and menus, I had enough. Boring!
There a few classy lines and some decent commentary, but not enough to hold this book together. So disappointing!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nena Engen on August 20, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found this book to be extremely boring! The only thing interesting about it was the description of "new" and "old" money, class, etiquette etc, whereas the plot itself was thin and dull (if there was a plot at all). I kept reading hoping there would be something at least a little bit exciting happening towards the end, but nothing! I wish I had spent my time better!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By madukes on June 30, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Interesting at first. Trivial at best. Read it quickly so you can better spend your time elsewhere. Trying the recipe might be worthwhile
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kl Polovina on April 13, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Enjoyed this book. It is about etiquette. The difference in classes, countries, as well as, generations. The story was easy and enjoyable too.
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