Mercedes and the House of Rainbows

Alan Jolis, Author Poseidon Press $16.45 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-64907-4
Set in Paris in the 1960s, this first novel is a delight. We initially meet Tim Cardozo, the son of wealthy American parents, when he is eight. Tim's nanny, and fellow-protagonist, is a beautiful Spanish runaway, Mercedes. These two live in fantasy worlds: Tim, imagining himself as Napoleon, rides at the head of Royalist troops, while 17-year-old Mercedes dreams of passionate love and a career as a flamenco dancer. With Tim's globe-trotting parents constantly abroad, the running of the Cardozo household, in Paris's exclusive 16th Arrondissement, is left to Tim's great-aunts Agatha and Phoebe, one of whom is blind and both of whom are deaf. Thus Tim and Mercedes do pretty much as they wish. The story covers eight years, during which time our hero and heroine encounter an extraordinary group of characters, including Tim's irrepressible schoolmates and the Jesuits who try to teach them; Mercedes' lover Sean O'Kelley, an Irish embassy employee who moonlights as a terrorist; and Manola, the Cardozo's Basque housekeeper who digs for treasure in the cellar. When, in time, Tim's dreams turn from Napoleon to his voluptuous nanny, and Mercedes starts to think that her young charge is her fantasy lover, the situation in the Cardozo house becomes livelier than ever. Jolis is an assured and inventive storyteller, whose sparkling novel is an auspicious debut. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/25/1988
Release date: 05/01/1988
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-14-012103-2
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