A comedy of manners that serves as an insightful look at the lives of those in the upper classes.
After two sisters, Laure and Marie, learn of their parents’ plan to sell the family’s summer retreat, L’Agapanthe, they devise a scheme for attracting a wealthy suitor who can afford to purchase the estate. Selling it would mean more than just losing a place to go during the summer—for the sisters, it’s become a necessary part of their character, their lifestyle, and their past.
L’Agapanthe, a place of charm and nostalgia, is the perfect venue to exercise proper etiquette and intellect, though not all its visitors are socially savvy, especially when it’s a matter of understanding the relationships between old money and the nouveau riche. The comedy of manners begins: with stock traders, yogis, fashion designers, models, swindlers, the Mafia, and a number of celebrity guests.
Laure—the witty, disarming, and poignant narrator—guides the reader through elegant dinners, midnight swims in the bay, and conversations about current events, literature, art, and cinema. The Suitors is an amusing insider’s look at the codes, manners, and morals of French high society.
The paper-thin narrative of David-Weill's third novel doesn't diminish the book's delightful rendering of L'Agapanthe, an old French family's summer estate on Cap d'Antibes dedicated to the art of gracious living. Told in the first person by 30-year-old Laure, the story follows a scheme devised by an eccentric family friend that Laure and her sister set in motion to keep the estate in the family after their parents decide to sell. The sisters invite a series of wealthy men to L'Agapanthe hoping to seduce one into marriage, thereby keeping the estate in the family. Included are each weekend's formal menus and room assignments, plus descriptions of the guests themselves; their occupations, backgrounds, and ability to fit into a rarefied atmosphere where one's opinions on culture are only somewhat more important than their level of bourgeois pretentions. Though the sisterly relationship is explored, the estate itself assumes center stage alongside the intricate set of mores and manners of the French elite. David-Weill (Crush) 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 clef and will likely try to play a who's who guessing game.
A great summer read!
A delightful, sophisticated little novel, meant, I think to be taken with a grain of salt - but it is definitely character driven and if a plot driven story is what you like, it probably is not for you.It is a bit provoking and that is probably its point. I was constantly reacting - negatively or positively to what I read. If you let it, it makes you think. it's Very French.