Abundance: A Novel of Marie Antoinette
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Date: October 2006
Duration: 11 hours 59 minutes
Sena Jeter Naslund made flesh and blood a boldly original fictional character called "Ahab's wife". Now, she combines rigorous scholarship and blazing imagination to illuminate the life of Marie Antoinette, one of the most courageous, and misunderstood, queens in history.
"Like everyone, I am born naked."
With this opening line of Naslund's compelling new novel, a very human Marie Antoinette invites readers to live her story as she herself experiences it. Marie Antoinette was a child of fourteen when her mother, the Empress of Austria, arranged for her to become the wife of the fifteen-year-old Dauphin, the future King of France. The young queen embraces her new family and the French people, and she is embraced in return. She shows her new husband nothing but love and encouragement, though he fails to give her a child and an heir to the throne.
Deeply disappointed and isolated, the queen allows herself to remain ignorant of the country's growing economic and political crises, and the people turn against her. Poor harvests, bitter winters, war debts, and poverty precipitate rebellion and revenge known as "the Terror."
Once again, Sena Jeter Naslund has shed new light on an important moment of historical change. Exquisitely detailed, beautifully written, heartbreaking and powerful, Abundance is a novel that is impossible to put down.
Performed by Susanna Burney