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Authors: Cecile David-Weill

The Suitors

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Copyright © Éditions Grasset & Fasquelle, 2009
Originally published as
Les Prétendants
by
Éditions Grasset & Fasquelle, 2009

 

Translation copyright © 2012 Linda Coverdale

 

Production Editor: Yvonne E. Cárdenas

 

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from Other Press LLC, except in the case of brief quotations in reviews for inclusion in a magazine, newspaper, or broadcast. Printed in the United States of America on acid-free paper. For information write to Other Press LLC, 2 Park Avenue, 24th Floor, New York, NY 10016. Or visit our Web site:
www.otherpress.com

 

The Library of Congress has cataloged the printed edition as follows:

 

David-Weill, Cécile, date

 

[Prétendants. English]
The suitors / by Cecile David-Weill; translated by Linda Coverdale.
p. cm.
eISBN: 978-1-59051-574-7
1. Sisters—France—Fiction.
2. Rich people—France—Fiction. 3. Upper class families—France—Fiction.
I. Coverdale, Linda. II. Title.
PQ2672.A162174P7413 2012
843′.914—dc23
2012014605

 

Publisher’s Note:
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

 

v3.1

 

To

 

PIERRE, LAURE, AND ALICE

 

 
CONTENTS
 

 
 
 
 
Spring 2007
 

It was a Sunday like any other. My son, Felix, was with his father. My sister and I always arranged to have dinner at least once a month with our parents, and now that May was almost over, the weather was becoming pleasant, so our conversation that night would inevitably focus on our plans for the summer. I must have been really bored given that I was looking forward to an evening I had already been through year after year, like clockwork! I felt a twinge of melancholy; my life was decidedly uneventful. I had Felix’s well-being and my patients’ anxieties to keep me busy, but no passions of my own. I felt empty. In the end, though, I convinced myself that there was nothing wrong with
taking pleasure in a family ritual I knew completely by heart.

I could see it all in detail: Marie and I would meet in the courtyard at five to nine to compliment each other on our outfits before braving the indifference of our mother, who never seemed to notice our efforts to meet with her sartorial approval. Sunday dinners were a contest of couture: we had to appear both stylish and relaxed, in a gently tailored suit, for example, or some chic sportswear. It was a game at which my sister was an acknowledged champion.

We would troop to the kitchen to fetch the light supper the cook had left for us on his day off, and then the table conversation would naturally turn to the approaching summer.

“Always the same guests!” my father would complain with a sigh.

My mother, her chestnut hair in a chignon, elegantly thin in a smart housecoat (that old-fashioned garment halfway between a robe and an evening gown), would protest that she was doing her very best. Wasn’t she working hard enough as it was to bring fresh faces to the usual cast of characters? It was much more difficult than it looked to come up, year after year, with people who were well mannered, interesting, clever
conversationalists, but not freeloaders. Then my mother would pause, pretending to surrender.

“After all, you’re right. Still, I don’t know … My latest attempts … Remember Joy, Moïra, Samuel … The graft didn’t … didn’t take. They seemed charming, and then … disaster.”

Marie and I would simply look at each other to make sure we weren’t imagining things. Since no one else ever seemed to notice whenever our mother fumbled, disconcertingly, for words, any comments my sister and I might have made would have sounded mean, bringing a sour note to the pleasure of discussing our summer house.

BOOK: The Suitors
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