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History of a Pleasure Seeker (2011)

por Richard Mason

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
3711570,561 (3.33)3
This book is an opulent, romantic novel, written in the grand manner, set at the height of Europe's belle epoque, about a handsome young man in his mid-twenties, a golden boy who secures a position as a tutor in the household of one of the most prominent bourgeois families in Amsterdam and his entry into a world of moneyed glamour and dangerous temptations. Piet Barol, blue-eyed, dark-haired, seductive and seductively charged, enters this magnificent world, and inexorably learns the hidden truths of this vastly rich, secretive family and, through the course of the novel, is profoundly transformed as his charm and sexual pull transform each of their lives. In the heady exhilaration of this new world, amid delights and temptations that Piet has only dreamed of, he discovers that some of the intimacies he has cultivated are dangerous liaisons indeed.… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 15 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
X-rated Downton Abbey. A very quick read but I didn't love it. The idea was great but I think the author didn't develop the character of Piet enough. Too much telling me how great he was but not telling me why he was so irresistible to everyone.

I was also annoyed at how every rich man in the hotels/ship/house was secretly gay. Some if them, ok, but it seemed a little over the top.

The ending really got on my nerves - I'm really not at all interested in another chapter with Piet and Stacey.

4/21/12. Met Richard Mason today and learned more about him and about this book. I have a much greater appreciation for his work now and feel like I might re-read this now with new eyes. I also really want to read his other work. In other news: he's an utterly charming man. ( )
  hmonkeyreads | Jan 25, 2024 |
This book started off slow, then got better as the plot thickened and you learned more about the character's motivations and personality, then dropped into tedium when the second part started. Interminable side plot that takes place on a boat made it seem like I was reading a separate book, and the ending just kind of rushed up on me and left me unsatisfied. I truly felt like two different books were crammed into one. I had higher hopes for this one. ( )
  kwskultety | Jul 4, 2023 |
How exquisite. So seductive. If there isn't a sequel the world will be a less sensuous place. Piet Barol reminds me of Nick Guest from [b:The Line of Beauty|139087|The Line of Beauty|Alan Hollinghurst|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1172099924s/139087.jpg|918312]. ( )
  potterhead9.75 | Jan 5, 2014 |
For the first 50 pages or so of this novel, I was wondering whether I'd accidentally purchased a bodice-ripping Harlequin novel for middle-aged ladies. Having finished the book in only two sittings (and enjoyed quite a lot of it), I now prefer to think of it as an "erotic picaresque novel" (a bodice-ripper by any other name... :-)
Smoothly written, with a keen eye for historical detail in its analysis of an upper-class family in 1907 Amsterdam, the story takes some odd twists and turns as the protagonist seeks to better himself in society. The main character, however, is also the main problem of this novel: a man of so many qualities as to be highly improbable. A good scholar, linguist (a cunning linguist, even), with a beautiful singing voice and an instinct for ingratiating oneself - quite possible. Extremely good-looking - fair enough. Rippling muscles that show through the fabric of his suit - a bit improbable, since no muscle-building physical activity is ever described. Highly intelligent, but without intellectual depth. Ruthlessly straight, but setting off the gaydar of every man around, married or not (the fact that the protagonist still has some unresolved mommy issues may have to do with that). The story becomes even more unhinged when the hero boards an ocean vessel that for all the longing male stares and swimming pool romps probably was the first gay cruise in history. My frustration was probably only caused because friends had spoken so highly that I was expecting an accomplished novel. As it stood, I did enjoy it - I only wish I could have read this erotic fantasy for ladies & gay men by the pool with a cocktail, where it belongs. ( )
  fist | Apr 7, 2013 |
This wasn't in my wheelhouse. It's well written erotica, with some interesting characters, but I expected more in terms of thematic depth. It was recommended as more of a literary novel than it turned out to be. I guess erotica can be literary, but this book didn't deliver what I was looking for.

The title character, Piet Barol, is engaged as a tutor to a prosperous Dutch family's OCD son, and proceeds to become embroiled in an affair with the lady of the house. He is also pursued, to varying degrees, by the two young daughters and a couple of male servants. I made it a third of the way through the book before realizing it wasn't for me. It seemed to follow a pattern of building up to one unsatisfying (for Piet) sexual encounter after another, which I suppose would eventually lead into some major fireworks. But what interested me the most were the psychological peculiarities of the boy, Egbert, and his father, Maarten. The book (to me at least) squandered too much time on the sexual frolics and didn't get back in time to what was, to me, the intellectual meat of the story.

I met Richard Mason at Booktopia in Vermont. A smart, charming, engaging man he is, and maybe he's got a book in him that would be more to my taste, but this wasn't the one.

I should say here that I'm not anti-erotica. But I don't seek the stuff out. One book along these lines I can recommend is Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie's graphic novel, [bc:Lost Girls|58652|Lost Girls|Alan Moore|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1328049521s/58652.jpg|2783480]. That book, which, like this one, is set in Europe in the Gilded Age, has the additional draw of being itself not only erotica, but an argument in favor of erotica, of engaging the Eros urge instead of aggression. Moore and Gebbie (who are husband and wife) score some serious points in that regard, amid the titillation.

Edit:I went back and finished the book on May 11, 2012 I see no reason to change my review or rating. ( )
  EricKibler | Apr 6, 2013 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 15 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
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The adventures of adolescence had taught Piet Barol that he was extremely attractive to most women and to many men.
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This book is an opulent, romantic novel, written in the grand manner, set at the height of Europe's belle epoque, about a handsome young man in his mid-twenties, a golden boy who secures a position as a tutor in the household of one of the most prominent bourgeois families in Amsterdam and his entry into a world of moneyed glamour and dangerous temptations. Piet Barol, blue-eyed, dark-haired, seductive and seductively charged, enters this magnificent world, and inexorably learns the hidden truths of this vastly rich, secretive family and, through the course of the novel, is profoundly transformed as his charm and sexual pull transform each of their lives. In the heady exhilaration of this new world, amid delights and temptations that Piet has only dreamed of, he discovers that some of the intimacies he has cultivated are dangerous liaisons indeed.

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