HISTORY OF A PLEASURE SEEKER
Published by Knopf February 14, 2012
“Richard Mason displays a sharp eye and a wit to rival Oscar Wilde.
“An ambitious young raconteur coaxes the passion out of a desiccated family in turn-of-the-century Amsterdam.
“Of his cunning protagonist, Richard Mason writes, ‘The adventures of adolescence had taught Piet Barol that he was extremely attractive to most women and to many men.’ He adds: ‘He was old enough to be pragmatic about this advantage, young enough to be immodest…’ Piet is far more used to poverty and hardship than he is to the life of luxury in Europe’s La Belle Époque. But he is above all ambitious and trained to navigate the world of privilege by his late mother.
“So it is that Piet infiltrates the household of Maarten Vermeulen-Sickerts, one of the wealthiest men in Amsterdam. Maarten’s sex-starved wife Jacobina hires Piet to tutor their son Egbert, a boy who becomes hysterical outside his own home. Though playing a dangerous game—the image of a man walking a tightrope is threaded through the narrative—Piet loses no time in pursuing all pleasures, be it music, fine food, wealth or the charms of his employer’s wife.
“A provocative and keenly funny portrait of a rake with an agenda all his own.”
“This bildungsroman is as smart as it is seductive.”
—Annie Bostrom, BOOKLIST
“An engaging portrait of an individual, a family, and a time.”
—Barbara Hoffert, LIBRARY JOURNAL (a starred review)
Kathy Zuckerman | 212-572-2105 | firstname.lastname@example.org
To hear the music, learn the historical context, and look into the world of this novel, email Piet@Barol.com