|"The Queen''s Necklace" sketches an extraordinary portrait of the French aristocracy as it falls towards the anarchy and bloodshed of the Revolution. This masterpiece lends emotional context to historical past, with a narrative that prophesizes impending violence through the superficiality and power struggles inside the court itself. Court life is vividly drawn; its fashions, habits, and politics, and also its power, decadence, vices, and corruption. Len Rix''s translation brings Antal Szerb''s fascinating world into English for the first time, staying true to the original style, wit, and strength of the author''s writing.|
From the Publisher:
In August 1785 Paris buzzed with a scandal involving an eminent churchman, a female fraudster, a part-time prostitute and the unpopular Queen herself. At the heart of the scandal was the most expensive diamond necklace ever assembled, and the tangle of fraud, folly, blindness and self-delusion it provoked. The humiliation inflicted on the royal family by this affair contributed to their appalling deaths in the Revolution just four years later.|In this version of the story, Hungarian novelist Antal Szerb uses the narrative as a standpoint from which to survey the entire age - including aspects of it seldom considered by more orthodox historians. The author's vast knowledge is worn very lightly, and the book teems with amusing anecdotes, but it is at heart a deeply personal work, and a remarkable gesture of defiance against the brutal world in which it was written.
"THE QUEEN'S NECKLACE...is a note of compassionate creative joy sounded on the brink of a terrible abyss, echoing down the centuries, and appealing to all who have the strength to turn their backs on despair in celebration of life. There could not be a more beguiling introduction to Szerb's non-fiction and the good-hearted humanity that all his writing embodies..." - Ruth Scurr 12/11/2009