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 and monsoons. Victorine gives herself over completely to this exhilarating new life of colonial extravagance — that is, until she encounters her youngest sister, who has also been living in Hanoi and Saigon. This reunion, both joyous and tense, reminds Victorine all too painfully of her life and family in France and forces her to confront exactly what she has done. Vividly narrated through a series of flashbacks, Victorine is a richly textured and passionate story of rebellion, guilt, and unruly love.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
Catherine Texier is the author of three previous novels, Chloé l’Atlantique, Love Me Tender, and Panic Blood, and a memoir, Breakup. She was the coeditor of the literary magazine Between C & D, is a regular contributor to the New York Times, and has written for Newsday, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, and Nerve.com. Texier lives in New York City.
Praise for Victorine…
“Texier does a skillful job of re-creating the rich insularity of the French provincial town. . . . [She has] the naturalness of a writer who is genuinely comfortable with the past.” --The New York Times Book Review
“Brilliant. . . .the place itself is the seduction.” —Bookforum
“Absorbing . . . The novelist's brilliance in evoking the quiet tensions of marriage and motherhood engender an immediate sympathy. . . Seamlessly interwoven are Victorine's reflections on her turbulent life, offering a glimpse back into the incredible pain and sense of betrayal her romantic whimsy caused.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Flaubert's classic hovers around the hem of this novel. . . . Texier has an unsparing sense of ethical complexity, the partial satisfaction that must suffice for a person torn between irreconcilable desires and responsibilities." —The Christian Science Monitor
“A spellbinding novel made all the more powerful by a profound examination of remorse.” —The Sunday Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)
“Mesmerizing . . . With lush, vivid description, Catherine Texier brings to life both the world around Victorine and the woman herself.” -Booklist
“A novel of historic change, adventure and passion that keeps you feverishly turning the pages.” -The Herald Express (UK)
“Lovely and original...A tantalizing mix of fact and fantasy: the author inhabits her great-grandmother's soul.” -Laura Shaine Cunningham, author of Sleeping Arrangements and Dreams of Rescue
“While [Victorine] can be enjoyed simply for its love story, its period flavor, and its gorgeous settings, it also offers an honest portrayal of just how wrenching and lonely rebellion can be.” —The Boston Globe
“Texier beautifully evokes the textures of daily life: a crisply told, rattling good tale.”
-The Independent (UK)
“A steely, delicate fictional tale of unaccounted-for years in the life of Texier's own great-grandmother...reminiscent both of Madame Bovary and Duras' The Lover.” -Publishers Weekly
“Texier knows how to do place, and mood, and how to make the reader understand the depth of personal dilemma. It's a haunting and remarkable read.” -Joanna Trollope, author of Other People's Children
“A sensuous, devoted piece of work that works hard to evoke French domesticity and later the headily foreign atmosphere of colonial Vietnam.” —The Miami Herald
“[An] evocative, erotic and enjoyable story.” —Sunday Telegraph (UK)
“A marvelous achievement, a historical novel that reads less like an invention than like a discovery, a love story that has sprung to life of its own accord from an old trunk. Graceful, subtle and vivid.” -Paul LaFarge, author of Haussmann, or the Distinction
“Romantic . . . Echoes of both Madame Bovary and Kate Chopin's The Awakening suffuse a nevertheless inventive and artfully composed delineation of a beguiling and complicated woman's arduous journey toward self-understanding. A subtly textured fourth novel: Texier's best yet.” -Kirkus Reviews
“Elegant and affecting.” -Scotland on Sunday
“Elegant as a pair of satin gloves, Catherine Texier's Victorine is the enchanting narrative of a unique womanÉThis is a seductive work of art.” -Diana Abu-Jaber, author of Crescent