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The Guest of Quesnay

Booth Tarkington

Book Overview: 

This is the story of two young American painters residing in Paris in a moderate way. Others are more flamboyant than them, for example Larrabee Harman, whose life is one continuous scandal, one of which involved the cousin of one of the painters. Observing him one evening on the Boulevard in the company of a famous dancer, the next day we meet him again: Victim of a car accident, carried to the hospital, not expected to live. But his life is tied to the lives of the two painters in odd ways.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .He stooped to brush the brambles from his trousers, sending me a sidelong glance from his blue eyes, which were brightly confident and inquiring, like a boy's. At the same time it struck me that whatever the nature of the singularity investing him it partook of nothing repellent, but, on the contrary, measurably enhanced his attractiveness; making him "different" and lending him a distinction which, without it, he might have lacked. And yet, patent as this singularity must have been to the dullest, it was something quite apart from any eccentricity of manner, though, heaven knows, I was soon to think him odd enough.

"Isn't your description," I said gravely, thinking to suit my humour to his own, "somewhat too general? Over yonder a few miles lies Houlgate. Trouville itself is not so far, and this is the season. A great many white hats trimmed with roses might come for a stroll in these woods. If you would complete the items—" and I waved my hand. . . Read More

Community Reviews

In reading early Booth Tarkington it was apparent that he had used and reused several themes changing only slightly the viewpoint in which it was told or a minor change to the circumstances in the stories. That is not the case with “The Guest of Quesnay” which was originally serialized in “Everybody

This is a romance within a romance. The narrator's own experiences come second in importance to his interesting and intriguing fellow guest. Not my favorite Tarkington, but interesting.

A Different Kind of Love Story

Told in the first person, this is a story narrated by an American man who went to Paris in his youth to study painting, who stayed on and is now older. We first meet him on a boulevard in Paris with his friend, George Ward, also a painter. The narrator paints landscapes