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The Resurrection of Frédéric…

The Resurrection of Frédéric Debreu

by Alex Marsh

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198537,190 (4.2)3



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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Alex Marsh is a truly gifted storyteller, and knows how to engage his readers from start to finish.

The novel is funny and witty and absurd, skilfully infused with just the right measure of heartache. It’s about the universal pursuit of happiness and a better quality of life, and how we deal with everything thrown our way on the journey. I connected immediately.

The characters are unforgettable and larger than life, without being stereotypical or cliché. I felt like I knew them, and I missed no longer being in their company once I’d finished the book.

Even though the novel is a work of fiction, I couldn’t help but feel that in some parallel world Maillot le Bois really does exist, and had to check it out on the internet - just to make sure.

I look forward to a sequel, but I would probably read anything by this author. The best book so far from Library Thing. ( )
  miekeiveson | May 25, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
While there is nothing intrinsically wanting in this book I found that I could not finish it. I struggled to get through the first half but it could not hold my interest. There was not enough to carry the story along, nothing that made me want to keep reading and see how the narration progressed. It is nicely written, but incredibly lacklustre. ( )
  literary.elitist | May 25, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I found so many things to like about The Resurrection of Frederic Debreu by Alex Marsh. First there was the story itself – Ted and Daisy Prescott beginning their retirement by adventurously going to live for a while in a small French town, Ted getting involved with the residents through his interest in their local hero Debreu, his search for his long estranged brother, and his efforts to protect his wife from their son’s (and their own) financial difficulties. There was a gentleness to the presentation of all the relationships. The characters of the villagers, especially Gaston and Phillipe, were comfortably familiar without being stereotypes. I could readily relate to the underlying theme of trying to figure out one’s identity in retirement.

This was by far the best of the books that I have received as part of LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program. Of course, the friendly, personal email assistance of the author when I had difficulty downloading this eBook didn’t hurt. ( )
  RACrowell | Jan 2, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Dark with delightful denial. Bad things happen to good people, true. The Resurrection of Frederic Debreu exemplifies how the manner in which we handle what comes our way, good or bad, determines our quality of life. Similar to A Man Called Ove, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, and The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, we have an older man on a quest and dealing with loss. But this story veers greatly from the others. Ted Prescott, whose wife is very much alive, does not back down from life. Rather than recent widowhood, he has filial and fraternal concerns. Ted, a recently retired carpenter, and Daisy, his wife, head into retirement by taking a "gap year." Fully intending to settle down to a proper English retirement later on, Ted decides to live in a rural cottage just outside Maillot le Bois, France in order to be near the old stomping grounds of Frederic Debreu, a deceased local folk-singing legend who figures in Ted's formative years. Ted's erstwhile older brother Eric previously visited the area before going AWOL from the family and sent young Ted some Debreu recordings. In the time honored fashion of a younger brother revering an older brother, Ted becomes attached to Debreu as a means of staying connected with his absent brother. Ted taught himself phonetically to sing Debreu’s songs in French. Over time, Ted also taught himself to make guitars, which he uses to accompany his singing. His initial plan is to spend the gap year as a sort of homage to Debreu. But nothing is simple and as with most journeys, this trip serves as more than a bit of a lark. Innocently enough, he takes up with a crew of café dwellers and begins a love affair with red wine. The café scenes are so vibrant and engaging, it is hard to break away from the book, even if to pour oneself a glass of wine. Reversals of fortune and a re-evaluation of circumstance figure in the plot. In a parallel story, we learn more about the rake, Debreu. However, the focus remains thoroughly on Ted, who must learn whether he can withstand tests of character.

The novel has a strange counterpoint, Daisy. Unlike Ove, A.J., and Arthur's spouses who are deceased, Daisy is alive. Sort of. Though she has a strong enough personality in the home, with Ted at times avoiding and sometimes protecting her, she is very much confined to the hearth. Her world seems to always have been a very circumscribed, and she rarely travels beyond the house. She and Ted have had a fairly tight little world of their own, and she never really develops beyond her introductory traits. In fact, one can’t help but feel she is a bit stifling. Part of the plot conspires to force Ted to grow as a person beyond his marriage. In fact, he takes on a whole new persona and flirts with fame. In a hilarious Faustian scenario, Ted morphs into Edouard, a sort of French Elvis-style, torch bearing performer of Debreu’s songs. He is offered a way out of financial woes and given a chance at minor celebrity, if he can get over his integrity. The novel is at turns quite funny and quietly despairing. Despite some strange turns of plot and without giving anything away, Ted develops a renewed sense of self, and all ends are tied up.

On a side note, the character Frederic Debreu is a creation of the author and a masterpiece of unreal reality. He is presented so convincingly that I had to check the internet to make sure I hadn’t missed out on some folk obscurity. The author even has gone so far as to write and perform songs attributed to Frederic—check You Tube. They are surprisingly fun and had me wishing I was sitting in the pub alongside locals in a singalong.

I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest review. ( )
  ReadingFury | Dec 31, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Retired carpenter Ted Prescott has settled into the quiet French community of Mailliot le Bois with his wife. He spends his days trying his hand at making guitars and hanging out at the local watering hole. A financial crisis, a favour to his new friends, and the discovery that monolingual Ted can beautifully perform the songs of local hero Frederic Debreu leads Ted down a slippery slope of benign deception and local fame.

Ted is a likeable character, a naif surrounded by those who are less honest and ethical. He doesn't want to portray himself as a shy, simple French peasant who sings but is carried along by the enthusiasm and machinations of the locals. You know it is all going to come crashing down but I enjoyed the journey. Equally enjoyable were the songs of Frederic Debreu, provided in English translation. ( )
  madlibrarian | Dec 20, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 191045317X, Paperback)

Who wants a respectable retirement anyway? Not Ted Prescott, genial visitor to Mailliot le Bois, here on an impulsive mission to seek out his past whilst heroically diminishing the sleepy French town's stocks of red wine. But once the locals discover Ted's authentic renditions of regional hero Frederic Debreu's songs, life is suddenly not so straightforward for the stage-shy Derbyshire guitar-maker. Reluctantly persuaded that he might help put their town back on the map, Ted finds himself billed as humble French farm labourer 'Edouard Prescote'. Nonplussed as his self-conscious performances strike a chord, Ted finds himself drawn into a web of well-intentioned deceit that he finds increasingly hard to unravel. Haunted by the loss of his missing brother, and with the hopes of an entire community riding on him, it soon becomes clear that there are other, more important things that he hasn't mentioned to his loved ones...

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 23 May 2016 13:41:20 -0400)

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