The Maid's Request

Michèle Desbordes
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ISBN 9780571210114 Format Paperback
Published 05/02/2004 Length 160 pages

About Book

The Maid's Request tells the beautiful story of an enigmatic relationship between a 16th-century Italian painter and his servant.

At the behest of the French king the artist has journeyed from Italy to lead his school of students in the design and construction of a château in the Loire Valley. Despite the fact that master and servant seldom talk, each is acutely aware of the other's presence and routine. He gives her gifts of clothing and jewellery; she is sensitive to his every need. He imagines them dying together, envisaging her as lover, angel, Madonna. Finally she puts it to him, falteringly, one sleepless winter's night in the kitchen - she would like to continue to serve him after death by offering him her body to study. Then, on receiving news of her idiot son's death, she sets out to bury him, promising to return shortly. But the winter passes and she still hasn't returned. The artist develops a fever and, unable to draw, he waits . . .

  • About Michèle Desbordes

    Michèle Desbordes grew up in Orléans, France. She studied at the Sorbonne and eventually specialised as a book archivist, working in Parisian universities and also as a lecturer in Guadeloupe. The Maid's Request is her first novel, which was first published as La Demande in France to enormous critical acclaim. Her second novel, Le Commandement, is now a bestseller in France and will also be published by Faber.

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