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The Rendezvous: A Novel [Paperback]

Justine Levy , Lydia Davis
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

March 15 1999
The Rendezvous is a beautiful and evocative first novel that blurs all lines between memoir and fiction. In a painfully sentimental journey, Louise, a sophisticated eighteen-year-old Parisian student, sits in a café awaiting the arrival of her long-absent mother, an aging hippie and former fashion model.
As the hours pass and Louise waits, she reaches deeper and deeper into her store of memory, recalling the early failure of her parents' marriage. Louise remembers how brief and unfulfilling meetings with her mother have punctuated her safe and secure life with her father, a world-renowned conductor. Carefully walking the balance between anticipation and fear, Louise meditates upon the chaos of her mother's life, a life of decadence, drugs, and irresponsibility.
Coming face-to-face with the powerful love she feels for her mother, Louise wryly acknowledges the complexity of a relationship filled with countless letdowns and unwavering devotion. Written with a wisdom that transcends age and the wit and savvy of a true survivor, The Rendezvous is a poignant examination of the transition to young adulthood and the often startling awareness of a parent's fallibility.

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From Amazon

The first love affair most of us have is with our mothers. In The Rendezvous, 18-year-old Louise sits in the Parisian cafe where her divorced parents met, whiling away a long, fruitless wait for her mother, Alice, by replaying scenes from their lives. Gorgeous, absentee Alice is a supreme narcissist and completely unconvincing liar who dabbles in hard drugs and spends time in prison. Though Louise affects a dispassionate cool as she conjures her up, her descriptions are those of a jilted suitor still longing for the lover who razed her heart. Alice is enticingly wild and generous, too, a horrendous parent but a shining chimera who goes up in flames with a grin. Translated from French and billed as a roman à clef that is "part memoir, part fiction," this debut novel by Justine Levy, the daughter of French philosopher Bernard Henri Levy, is slight in scope but addictive and elegant, even as the scenes inscribed rival those in Bosch's paintings of hell. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In a humorous reversal of the French notion of rendezvous, Louise, the young narrator of this irresistable first novel, unravels her personal tale while waiting in a Parisian cafe for her mother. It is not just any cafe, however, but the one in which her parents, now divorced, met 20 years before; and it is not just any mother, but a gorgeous, extravagantly wayward fashion model, drug addict, and shoplifter. Louise is wise to Alice (we're never quite sure if she's going to show up or not), rather than bitter regarding her neglect of Louise during her childhood, the ghastly details of which the narrator recalls with a Gallic shrug: "This is drama. This is tragedy. This is why I suffer and why there's nothing to do about it." Levy manages a marvelous classical unity of time, manner, and place, and her descriptions (some guy has a "Bourbon profile"; Alice's lesbian lover has "strangler's hands") are fresh and funny in Davis's easy-going translation. We're not sure how Louise turned out so sanely, but we're glad she did. For all readers.?Amy Boaz, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book, at least in the Spanish version is a very interesting monologue about the relationship between a young woman and her mother, who always lived an independent life, following the May '68 values as much as the elder generation followed the old ones.
Promising debut for the daughter of a well-known French philosopher. Makes you want to read her next book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An autobiographical novel that hurts Nov. 19 1997
By Eileen G. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A beautiful teenage daughter waits patiently, loyally, dreamily; by turns hopefully and hopelessly for a fickle, messed-up mother; they've a lunch date in a Paris cafe. The size and the scope of the daughter's bereavement take up the whole of this slim book. She's had a lifetime of gentrified confusion, short bursts of happiness, rejection, and grief. Levy recounts this skillfully and stylishly, and with a blameless bitter heart. The remembered details of her childhood (toys, clothes, mundane events) take on a burning importance, as if they're all that's left -- after a catastrophe. There's a growing genre of these memoirs of yearning and loss, and this one is a fine addition.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, heartfelt, lyrical novel March 29 2002
By Ms Diva - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
...The author does an wonderful job of making the protagonist sympathetic without vilefying the mother. My heart went out to the girl as she sat and waited for her mother, knowing, on some level, that she wasn't going to arrive. The use of flashbacks to tell the story of the girl's childhood neglect by her mother is well done. Some of the descriptions are captivating. It is amazing how much depth that the characters have, given that the story is really an interior monologue from one person's perspective. This is a book about hurt, disappointment, hope, regret and loss. Even if the reader hasn't experienced the sort of neglect that the lead character does, we can relate to her pain -- the emotions she is feeling are ones we have all felt at one time or another, for one reason or another. As such, the device of not giving her a name works really well.
This book may be hard to find now, but I strongly reccommend that you make the effort, ...(it seemed more like a short story than a novel), so as well written as it is, I can understand why a person wouldn't want to spend too much to get it.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well-written novel of a newcomer. Appeals to anyone under 30 Aug. 11 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book, at least in the Spanish version is a very interesting monologue about the relationship between a young woman and her mother, who always lived an independent life, following the May '68 values as much as the elder generation followed the old ones.
Promising debut for the daughter of a well-known French philosopher. Makes you want to read her next book.
3.0 out of 5 stars An OK Novel Dec 26 2012
By S. Tucker - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I'm a Francophile, so I try to devour as much literature as I can about France, Paris in particular. The Rendezvous was a great attempt at self-reflection, but ultimately, I'm not always convinced of fictionalized memoirs, which this seemed to be. Louise's mother seemed so thinly drawn in her reveries that I wondered why Louise was feeling for such a cartoon character. Because Louise's mother takes up a lot of space in her mind, I felt as though I were laboring through this movel (though ultimately it is a quick read).
5.0 out of 5 stars Un Voyage May 17 2012
By Michael Tenzer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This slice of a very interesting life was a good read. I would recommend on the basis of the interesting format that gives insight into the link between a young woman's past and her present. Anyone who's relationship with their mother is strained will relate to the story. Also a great way for an english speaker to get an idea of some French cultural sensibilities. Read this, then sit at a Paris cafe and contemplate your own relationships. Recommended!
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