The Governesses

The Governesses

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In a large country house shut off from the world by a
gated garden, three young governesses responsible for the education of a group
of little boys are preparing a party. The governesses, however, seem to spend
more time running around in a state of frenzied desire than attending to the
children’s education. One of their main activities is lying in wait for any
passing stranger, and then throwing themselves on him like drunken Maenads. The
rest of the time they drift about in a kind of sated, melancholy calm, spied
upon by an old man in the house opposite, who watches their goings-on through a
telescope. As they hang paper lanterns and prepare for the ball in their own
honor, and in honor of the little boys rolling hoops on the lawn, much is
mysterious: one reviewer wrote of the book’s “deceptively simple words and
phrasing, the transparency of which works like a mirror reflecting back on the
reader.”

Written with the elegance of old French fables,
the dark sensuality of Djuna Barnes and the subtle comedy of Robert Walser,
this semi-deranged erotic fairy tale introduces English readers to the
marvelous Anne Serre.