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A Visit from Voltaire Paperback – June 1, 2004

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Orion Publishing Group (June 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1870015843
  • ISBN-13: 978-1870015844
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,169,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


--"In the tradition of the best self-help novels, Voltaire teaches her how to live a happy and full life," Nicholas Cronk, The Cambridge Guide to Voltaire, March 2009

--Voted second "Must Read" by UK library borrowers on World Book Day, after the winner, Sebastian Faulks's  Birdsong, ahead of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, The Lovely Bones, the Bookseller of Kabul, My Sister's Keeper and the Sharpe books of Bernard Cornwell, April 2005.

--Definitely my book of the year."
Irene Double, librarian for Bradford Libraries, UK, Shelf Life
--Recommended Reading Group selection, UK, Hertfordshire Libraries

Nominated for the Orange Prize for Fiction, 2004

--A mix of the real and surreal, a combination of fact and fiction and a hint of the American experiencing Switzerland, written in a straightforward and entertaining style is what makes Dinah Lee Küng such an interesting writer.-- Aradhna Sethi,  Swiss News, Zurich, May 2004

About the Author

Dinah Lee Küng worked for twenty years as a journalist in Asia, notably China, for Business Week, The Economist, The International Herald Tribune, and The Washington Post.

More About the Author

The award-winning writer Küng has published nine novels after twenty years of reporting from Asia, (primarily China and Hong Kong,) for newspapers and magazines, including the Economist, BusinessWeek, the International Herald Tribune and National Public Radio.

Her latest social comedy, "Love and the Art of War", was published in all formats, in January 2012. (A trilogy of historical thrillers was published in all formats by Eyes and Ears Editions under a completely separate pen name in 2013.)

"A Visit From Voltaire" was nominated for the ORANGE PRIZE FOR FICTION/BAILEYS PRIZE FOR WOMEN'S FICTION in 2004. This is a quirky autobiographical comedy in which the phantom of Voltaire haunts her farmhouse as she tries to settle into life in Switzerland.

Her Geneva novel, "Under Their Skin", is a sophisticated love triangle story using the metaphor of surfaces, reflections, skin and scars, to examine what lies underneath appearances. The interplay between the captivating artistry of a birthmarked violinist, the precision and sterility of her doctor's laser clinic, and the determined workaholism of his childless wife at the World Health Organization in leprosy relief makes for an uncomfortable examination of conventional morality and the meaning of marriage.

Under the name D. L. Kung, the trilogy of "The Handover Mysteries" was re-issued as e-books and new paperback editions from Eyes and Ears Editions. They were voted as three of the "Top Ten Mysteries, Thrillers and Suspense of 2011" list by Goodreads members.

Küng's signature in all her novels is an interweaving of East and West themes, placing domestic comedy or melodrama in a well-researched historical or political context. Her stories are informed by a Catholic upbringing and a sensitivity to cross-cultural tensions with an often sharp and mordant sense of humor.

"Love and the Art of War" returns readers to the light domestic tone of "A Visit From Voltaire"; in London's leafy NW1, a middle-aged librarian joins an evening class of bumbling businessmen to study the wiles of the ancient Chinese warlords, with the aim of reconquering, not the corner office, but the love of her life.

Küng did her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Asian/Chinese studies and maintains a lively interest in Asian affairs. She's a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City and an active advocate for Chinese writers in detention through PEN Centre Suisse Romand. She is the wife of a retired delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the mother of three adult children.

( Contact Dinah c/o Liz, Editorial Assistant, Eyes and Ears Editions, eyesandears.editions@gmail.com.)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Barbara St Aubrey on August 4, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Learned more about Voltaire, the elegance and enlightenment of the eighteenth century than reading a history books or one of his plays - This is a charming book that touches on current life in Switzerland as well as, the word-skills of Voltaire - he was a true Renaissance man matching his curiosity, perfecting his interests and experiences the length of his life The story line sounds contrived however, I found the book informative, light-hearted, a page turner filled with the flavor of both Voltaire's time in history as well as, current attitudes among the Swiss, the business acumen of the author and of all things, how to plan a successful party by way of Voltaire's party planning skills. White a ghost he makes a profit on the Stock-market and using a pseudonym helps release a political prisoner in Pakistan. I now want to embark on a reading program of Voltaire
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By dh on June 24, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Voltaire would have assuredly been a great person to meet from the past, but you wouldn't know it from this book. Drawing parallels with the past and present is fertile ground, but not when the author's life (which is so disconnected from common experience) seeps into the subtext so transparently. The comedic elements did not evoke Voltaire's wit....they were as dry as a mummy's breath. Perhaps chuckle-invoking (Note; chuckle in the singular.) if prefer like the more yawn-inducing cartoons in the New Yorker. It seems as though the the author did a master's thesis on Candide in college and decided to shoehorn that information into a disjointed though well-written autobiography. Hong Kong, skiing, building contractors, train vandalism, over-indulged kids, stock-trading, and Madame Pompadour.....oh yeah, and dogs killing cats (!)....Whaaa?! Try to mash all of that together in your head. Non, merci.
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