Gazelle A mother s betrayal an unexpurgated copy of The Arabian Nights a dazzling perfume maker and the scent of rose attar all serve to awaken a girl of thirteen to erotic life In Rikki Ducornet s new nov

  • Title: Gazelle
  • Author: Rikki Ducornet
  • ISBN: 9780375411243
  • Page: 386
  • Format: Hardcover
  • A mother s betrayal, an unexpurgated copy of The Arabian Nights, a dazzling perfume maker, and the scent of rose attar all serve to awaken a girl of thirteen to erotic life In Rikki Ducornet s new novel, Elizabeth, the daughter of a professor of history living in Cairo in the 1950s, tells how she came to be an anatomist of mummies, as she opens up to us the sensations andA mother s betrayal, an unexpurgated copy of The Arabian Nights, a dazzling perfume maker, and the scent of rose attar all serve to awaken a girl of thirteen to erotic life In Rikki Ducornet s new novel, Elizabeth, the daughter of a professor of history living in Cairo in the 1950s, tells how she came to be an anatomist of mummies, as she opens up to us the sensations and aromas of ancient times, and explains how the city of Cairo itself gives her power and wisdom and takes away from her the part of the self that is necessary for love.When her mother leaves her father to walk the streets of Cairo, and her father forgets himself in games of chess and war, thirteen year old Elizabeth ponders Sch h razade s words, It is good for a girl to be with a man, and finds comfort at the shop of Ramses Ragab, a master perfumer dedicated to resurrecting the lost fragrances of the past the Susinum prized by Roman women the nardinon loved by Pliny the hekenou of the Pharaohs.Under the tutelage of the perfumer, Elizabeth reads ancient esoteric texts and learns the mysteries of fragrance Ramses Ragab is a sensitive and brilliant man, and Elizabeth s burst of love for him has a child s intensity and a young woman s passion When her father hires a magician to bring back his wife, Elizabeth discovers just how precious she herself is and how worthless as a girl and soon to be beautiful woman, in this ancient land of stone, sand, and darkness.

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      Published :2020-04-01T16:57:43+00:00

    About "Rikki Ducornet"

    1. Rikki Ducornet

      Rikki Ducornet born Erica DeGre, April 19, 1943 in Canton, New York is an American postmodernist, writer, poet, and artist.Ducornet s father was a professor of sociology, and her mother hosted community interest programs on radio and television Ducornet grew up on the campus of Bard College in New York, earning a B.A in Fine Arts from the same institution in 1964 While at Bard she met Robert Coover and Robert Kelly, two authors who shared Ducornet s fascination with metamorphosis and provided early models of how fiction might express this interest In 1972 she moved to the Loire Valley in France with her then husband, Guy Ducornet In 1988 she won a Bunting Institute fellowship at Radcliffe In 1989 she moved back to North America after accepting a teaching position in the English Department at The University of Denver In 2007, she replaced retired Dr Ernest Gaines as Writer in Residence at the The University of Louisiana In 2008, The American Academy of Arts and Letters conferred upon her one of the eight annual Academy Awards presented to writers.


    1. When I read the final paragraph in this book, I slowly closed it and looked at the “blurb” on the back cover and also at the author’s photograph. My immediate thought was how could Rikki Ducornet possibly have had the imagination to write this sublime book?How can I even begin to describe this stunning gem of a book? Why do I like it so much and why has it affected me the way it has? I really don’t know but what I do know is that it’s one of those serendipitous literary works that now [...]

    2. On this day one decade ago, my husband and I married in the Duesseldorf Standesamt. At that time, we were oblivious to that juncture in our future which would bring us to Egypt, where we resided in the Western Desert on the outskirts of Cairo for three years.This book breathes sense of place in the same way as Durrell's The Alexandria Quartet evokes an Alexandria which no longer exists - the Cairo in Gazelle is a place of memories - both the author's and my own. I read Durrell's Quartet before I [...]

    3. “I imagined that here time was not counted in seconds, but in petals of roses. Each atom of air was scented with roses.” With my overstimulated senses still reeling from the sensuous voluptuousness of the aphrodisiac scent emanating from these pages and my accelerated heart aching with piercing melancholy, I try to reconcile the unseen power and the darkish forces that lurk behind this exotic rarity of a tale.Two undercurrent sinuous voices embodied in a single first person narrator, only se [...]

    4. Easy to enter difficult to leave. How does one write like this, creating atmosphere so dense, precious, one enters with no assurance of return. Yet, in the end it is a book about about never returning. The past trying to claw a grip on the future from proceeding, as occurs in all times. A way of life to be wiped out. The battle field is the present. The resentful future tries to rip itself away. What may be of use from the past is gone, the present already receding. Why have I put Ducornet off o [...]

    5. Ducornet is the lovelist, most magical and dazzling writer on two legs. Her elements tetralogy is an essential entry in the American canon, her short fiction has inspired dozens of MFA pixie girls to take up their pens and write flotsammy flimflam about faires and pixies and sexy girly-poohs bitchslapping wizards. Gazelle is a more serious-faced novel from her less playful more sombre period, concerning the flowering of sexuality of Elizabeth in Egypt among a cast of fantastic characters with li [...]

    6. The below contents of this Review Box are now available in a document assemblage entitled Off-Topic: The Story of an Internet Revolt. Some words about Gazelle and/or Ducornet may be in the offing.(view spoiler)[Please do not DELETE this Review.Please do not FLAG this Review.My reviews are on strike. The arbitrary deletion policy which management has been practicing must stop. At the very least, they must negotiate with us in good faith. I have thrown in with the monkey=wrenchers and sabot=tosse [...]

    7. From then on the small pleasures of daily life took on the stench- however slight- of ambiguity or worse: deviance. And although I loved Father deeply, this secret knowledge revealed what I came to think of as his weakness.Matthew Lillard in Scream tells Neve Campbell's grieving daughter that her adulterous mother was "NO Sharon Stone!" She pays for her crimes, the poor woman. Mother, will I be pretty? Will I be rich? Thirteen year old Lizzie grave robbed her parents. Not in the traditional sens [...]

    8. Look Like An Egyptian26 year old Elizabeth returns to Cairo thirteen years after spending a year there with her parents in the 1950’s.Her father is a timid history professor, who describes himself variously as broken or lost. Nevertheless, “Father looked Egyptian - we both did - so that Cairo embraced us unquestioningly…”Mother’s Restless BeautyThe men of Cairo embrace Lizzie’s mother in a different way, as you might infer from the following description.Her mother is “a big, beauti [...]

    9. There is no Carter! There is no Rushdie! There is only Ducornet! Rikki Ducornet is one of my favorite under-known writers, an extraordinary fantasist. A camphor-scented bildungsroman set in 1950s Cairo, Gazelle is probably her strongest novel, it's definitely her most autobiographical, and it would be the best introduction to her work. Which, by the way, is chock full of sex. And mummies.

    10. Overripe, but only in the sense that a champagne mango or a persimmon must seem overripe in order to taste their richest and sweetest. Even with a spare plotline this felt like a condensation, a rose attar, of an epic to get lost in for weeks; and though it only took me a day or so to read its potency obviated time by a relentless, though languid, saturation of moments both sensual and literary. Lovely, morbid, aromatic, and sexily escapist.

    11. Yes yes yes! If books were perfumes, this one would be the perfect mix of storytelling prowess, enchantment of language, whiff of philosophy, and scent of great characters. Oh, and a dash of humor to taste. A highly potent potion, to be sure, yet none of the above elements suffers because of the others. It’s like each word in this short book is doing double or triple duty to those ends.The gesture, like the gesture a magician makes with his wand, multiplying doves at will, seeded the city with [...]

    12. Yawn. I just didn't care. Very unlikable and unsympathetic characters, especially the parents who were so wrapped up in their own drama that they didn't seem to notice that they had a child. This would have been okay if the narrator herself had been interesting and intriguing, but she was instead mopey and self-involved. In other words, like the average teenager. Average teenagers don't make for good fiction. Her first person narrative moved along at a snail's crawl even though the book was 189 [...]

    13. Ijust cannot shake the "already seen" feeling. Yes, a lot of literature is, in fact, retelling of the same old story, but the storyteller has to add something new to intrigue the audience. This book didn't intrigue me in the least. The lone part that stirred my interest - and consequently, one of the few that remain in my memory - was the one about father being "airy", perpetually floating and distant.I felt this book was not unlike this father - like air. Maybe the idea was to make it like perf [...]

    14. Rikki Ducornet has a wonderful way of writing, its not something everyone will embrace. There is a dreamy quality to the story telling and the pages drip with fragrance. I felt transported to Egypt. Do not be misled this is not erotica or romance, but it is sensuous and exotic. The protagonist is a grown woman who takes us back to a summer when she was 13 and living in Cairo. Her mother has run off to be be with other men and Lizzi and her father are left to themselves to deal with this most hea [...]

    15. I read this while bored to tears selling books (or rather, NOT selling books) at a literary festival. It only just kept me awake. Beautifully written, very visual and nothing happens. I got about a third of the way in, and said, well let's try further in. Still beautifully written, visually evocative, and nothing happening. The most exciting character in the book (the philandering, oversexed, Icelandic Mother) is completely absent, and the narrator (daughter) spends all her time NOT thinking ab [...]

    16. This reminded me of the Alexandria Quartet for the sensual expat memoir content. It is memories of being thirteen and the tumultuous, vivid, perverse emotional landscape there. A bit heavy on the exotique but quite a nice read. I'm reading commentary on the 1001 Nights and this ties in nicely too.

    17. This would be a great book to read in a bath of rose, neroli and sandalwood. It's a quick read, very sensual, a la Maguerite Duras. It's also been compared to Patrick Suskind's /Perfume/ because of it's many descriptions of scents and a perfumerie--but it's not nearly so dark. The narrator, now an anthropologist studying mummies, looks back at her thirteenth year, a year she spent in Egypt with her eccentric father, after her mother left them. The writing is often gorgeous. The voice is believab [...]

    18. The most delightful book I've read in a long time. Ducornet's language is beautiful as always; every line of this simple, yet multi-layered novel can stand by itself as a poem or a little story. After reading just a paragraph or two, I feel nourished by images, fragrances, glimpses of the Old Time in Egypt and how it continues to affect the present. A vivid portrayal of a young American woman discovering her identity and her desires in mid-20th century Cairo, amid the often-conflicting philosoph [...]

    19. Bought this because the front quote compares it, in part, to Suskind's Perfume, which I really enjoyed. However, there really is any comparison, other than book stories having perfume as theme. In Gazelle it is only a small theme, though. The other book mentioned in the quote is Margarite Duras' The Lover, which I suspect is a closer comparison, though I haven't read it (I will though). [return][return]I did enjoy this story, though it is quite uneven. Some of what might be dreamy storytelling i [...]

    20. I waited to mark this as read until I could rave about everything I loved about this, but after a couple of years it's time to just give it five stars and stop pretending to be "currently reading" it.LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!!!!

    21. un libro raffinatissimo ed elegante, che sarebbe piaciuto a d'annunzio per le tante bellissime pagine dedicate ai profumi, alle loro magie, alla loro sensualità: rikki ducornet sa scrivere e leggerla è un piacere. e poco importa allora che talvolta i personaggi non siano approfonditi (tutti quei comprimari, da popov a sakkiet, di cui si vorrebbe sapere di più), perché il vero protagonista è l'egitto e il suo fascino, la cui capacità di cambiare le persone (o di renderle eternamente immutab [...]

    22. a fascinating and exotic story. not a quick read, but one to savour, very sensual, about the coming of age of an adolescent girl in Egypt. in many ways her parents are both wanderers: father - of the mind; and mother - of the body. perfume, mummies, betrayal. RD is an interesting voice, and new to me. i plan to read more of her work.

    23. As other reviewers have noted, Gazelle is the story of Elizabeth, a 13-year-old American girl who has been brought to Egypt because of her father's Fulbright scholarship. Her father is a professor, quiet, subdued, obsessed with things of the past, especially wars. Her mother is originally from Iceland, and is a large personality, uncontrollable by her husband and daughter. Crisis occurs when Elizabeth and her father surprise her mother during one of her affairs, after which her mother relocates [...]

    24. "Memories accumulate within the mind like the disparate fragrances that make a perfume. Our only means of recovering the past and yet how volatile they are!"Elizabeth, a surgeon with a unique job working with mummies, lives in Cairo following a dissolved relationship. The narrative mainly concerns the recounting of the summer when Elizabeth first lived there, as a thirteen year old girl from the United States, coming of sexual age and witnessing the disturbing crumbling of her parent's marriage. [...]

    25. A book lush with beautiful, writhing, "wantoning" phrases about the awakening of a 13-year-old girl's sensuality in Egypt (She has a crush on a maker of exotic perfumes. When she grows up, she'll make a career out of dissecting mummies.). It creates an atmosphere of crushed rose petals and The Arabian Nights to "flood the soul with beauty," and speaks in essence of love and transformation.Quotes:"e city of Cairo gave way to a forest of the mind. A forest where female animals offered themselves t [...]

    26. Beautiful.This novel is about . . . the wordthe linethe imageIt's also about a time and place, Egypt in the 1950s. It's about a thirteen year old American girl as she navigates her parents' failed marriage and her own transformation from doting child to young woman learning the power of her own sexuality.Gazelle contains a number of sharply realized characters. The girl's ever more introverted father with his ever growing obsession with creating war games. The girl's sex-bomb, wildly promiscuous [...]

    27. Wow. Just wow. That's not a good wow, just so you know. What was this book about? I have no idea. Really I don't. There was no central story line really. The characters, even Elizabeth who was on every page, where see through and fleeting, intangible. There was no conflict, not even an obscure one.The only reason I didn't give this book an F was because while even though it became a little much at times, the language was beautiful. It was beautiful, at least, when I knew what she was talking abo [...]

    28. Here's a book with exquisite and lyrical writing that goes nowhere. Taken scene by scene, the author presents a tantalizing vision of 50's Cairo, but the scenes don't add up to anything.A few particularly spellbinding passages revolve around a perfume maker who relies on ancient wisdom to recreate the scents of Greeks and Romans. He and his assistant must crush thousands of rose petals. Distilling the essence from rose petals - that's the best way to describe this book. Like a lovely, exotic per [...]

    29. Love this book! It is wonderful. The writing takes to Cairo, Egypt with such ease. This story of a pre-teen girl who's father receives a Fullbright scholarship to Cario in the 1950s and takes his wife and daughter with him for the 1 year stint.What started out fine, soon became awful as the marriage disintegrates and the daughter (our narrator) is left to manage, pretty much on her own. I found the depictions of her parents to be believeable and very real. This is a writer to read more of.

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