The King in the Tree by Steven Millhauser
Three Novellas

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From the author of Edwin Mullhouse and the Pulitzer Prize–winning Martin Dressler: three dazzling novellas about the many shapes of love.

“Revenge” is a tour de force about erotic love and betrayal, told through the voice of a woman showing her home to a stranger with a disturbing secret. As the once-happy wife moves from living room to bedroom, she insinuates herself into her guest’s (and the reader’s) mind—and we witness the gradual unfolding of a carefully meditated scheme of revenge.

“An Adventure of Don Juan” and the title novella transform classic fables into immediate, wholly original tales of romance. The first puts the famous lover on a country estate in England, where he attempts to perpetrate a brilliant seduction only to discover something surprising about the human heart. In the mesmerizing “The King in the Tree,” Millhauser explores devotion and denial, casting the tragedy of Tristan and Ysolt as an engrossing tale of a king’s infatuation with his beautiful wife—and the agony of her betrayal with his own nephew.

Full of passion, trysting, and fatal pleasures, these three brilliant novellas are rich with the many gifts of our most persistently imaginative romancer.

About Steven Millhauser

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Steven Millhauser received the Pulitzer Prize for Martin Dressler. He is a recipient of the Lannan Award and has been honored by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The author of nine previous books, he teaches at Skidmore College and lives with his wife and two children in Saratoga Springs, New York.
Published February 18, 2003 by Knopf. 256 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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King Mark of Cornwall’s counselor and former tutor stoically observes his cuckolded sovereign’s vacillations among outrage, relief, confusion, and sorrow as continually conflicting evidence surrounds rumors hat young Queen Ysolt and the King’s nephew and trusted knight Tristan are lovers.

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Star Tribune

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Review: With awesome control over the voices of his narrators in these novellas about romantic betrayal, Millhauser evokes a lovers' gallery who cheat and deceive one another, convinced that what they are doing is right.

Feb 08 2003 | Read Full Review of The King in the Tree: Three N...

AV Club

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There, he finds the era's trend toward unrestrained whimsy in its landscaping taken to its absurd limit: The estate's proprietor creates three-dimensional tableaux of Anglo-Saxon England, contemporary Venice, and even the heaven and hell of Virgil and Homer, populating them with actors whose mute...

Apr 02 2003 | Read Full Review of The King in the Tree: Three N...

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