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The Summer of Katya
Originally published in 1983. Re-issued by Crown Publishers, NY, July 2005 trade paper edition in a matched set of 5 Trevanian titles
In the quiet Basque countryside in 1914, Jean-Marc Montjean, a handsome young doctor, is bewitched by the seductive, beautiful Katya. He is driven to know everything about her. He is devastated by the unspeakable secret horror buried in her past.
In his own words
Trevanian, (answering written questions from Judy Quinn of Publisher's Weekly, in 1998) said about it. ...Then, after a break of four or five years, I decided to take a couple of things off the back of the stove and offer them on the marketplace. One was a novel... of a mixed genre partially love story, partially horror story. This was The Summer of Katya, a tale with a potent central role for an exceptional woman.
I released it under the Trevanian name, although it was, in fact, written by an internal first-person author whom I had spent many months confecting. It became the best-selling of any of my books. But it's true that its sales in Europe greatly outstripped its sales in North America. And some said the book was "too European," meaning, I suppose, that it didn't deal with middle-aged ladies playing musical beds, with business success, with slambang action, with sea creatures biting off legs, with horror in small towns, or with political and legal scandals.
Also, the book was set in France just before the First World War, and non-American settings (I was told) turn Americans off. At all events, the book went well. And the numbers of Trevanian buffs increased internationally. By now the Trevanian buffs around the world had got the idea, and knew the game. They were looking for a quality of writing, characterization, and message, and enjoying the "spin" Trevanian put on each genre he touched. But some North American readers were miffed and muddled about Trevanian's movement among various popular genres. In fact, a bizarre letter was forwarded to me (and this is exceptional, because I have asked publishers not forward mail from readers). It was from an irate reader who felt cheated when he bought a copy of The Summer of Katya and didn't find the slam-bang action he had anticipated from having earlier read The Eiger Sanction. I found out what the book had cost in America and sent him his money back, with instructions not to buy another Trevanian book until he grew up.
Some reactions from readers of the bookfrom Florida , March 31, 1999 A fantasic journey into reading pleasure. This story is for people who enjoy the journey as well as the destination. It's not a "Who dun it" but rather a "What is really going on here". The book is not for everyone, but, if you are like me, it is the best novel that I have ever read. Eleven years ago I named my black cat Katya after this book. Katya is still here and as spooky as ever. Enjoy!!!
from Conyers, GA, USA , March 7, 1999 A Spectacular Psychological Thriller and Love Story. The Summer of Katya was given me to read by my tenth grade Honors English teacher. She told our class that she was probably in a minority of teachers in giving this book to a tenth grade class to read, but that we would read many books of mature content and sometimes controversial nature... throughout the year we read The Catcher in the Rye, The Lord of the Flies, and Hamlet, among other diverse works, but The Summer of Katya remained one of my favorites... indeed, Katya is right up there with Holden Caulfield as a literary character, though perhaps not so widely known. It will remain one of the most astoundingly psychological books I have read for many years to come, and I hope to purchase a copy if one is to be found.
from Üzmir,T¸rkiye , December 24, 1998 Is this a love or a sickness? When i started to read this book i thought it was a book of love, but after pages you must consider about your decision.At the and i was shocked. I recommend this book to the reader who re interested in the complex psychologie of the human..
A reader from Asia , December 19, 1998 Haunting....and unforgettable!
In this eloquent recapitulation of an ephemeral and tragic summer romance, Trevanian's writing is truly inspired. The trademark Trevanian acrid cynicism gives way, this time, to the author's previously well-disguised unfathomable sentimentality. The result is a masterpiece to be read and "rediscovered" continually thru the years.
A reader from Makati , December 14, 1998 Elegant sentimentality....classic literature. 10 stars. In the Summer of Katya, Trevanian departs from the acerbic, audacious voice with which he formerly spoke with (Shibumi, The Eiger and Loo Sanction). In place is the voce of a romantic, sentimental underdog in a memoir that combines a comedy which brims with wit and elegance and an emotional tragedy that is complete in its devastation. The "genius" of this work lies in Trevanian's achieving an ambience of autumnal dignity that resonates throughout the entire story. Another masterpiece from Trevanian!
from The Suffering Man, Southeast Asia , March 9, 1998
Would make the coolest Dude weep! A novel with class! Young Basque doctor Jean-Marc falls in love with mysterious Katya Treville, a young french aristocrat. This novel had me immersed in the picturesque basque region of France during the innocent times before the first world war. The ultimate strength of this tragic romance is Trevanian's ability in weaving the most beautiful words and sentences together. This is as spectacular as a short book gets! It left me with a deep sense of sadness and grief for many days, after and I loved it! Trevanian at his literary best! The dialogue between the characters, especially Katya and Jean-Marc are witty and incisive. Jean-Marc's narrative is stuff classics are made of. This is one of the classiest novels that has come my way! This dude was hurting and weeping for days on end!
from Nicholas Linnear, The Philippines , March 9, 1998 An eloquently brilliant and elegant romantic thriller! 10+!
The Summer of Katya is an exquisitely crafted literary masterpiece that in numerous ways is more poetry than prose. This is what writing as an art is all about! Set in the summer of 1914, between, what the author Trevanian calls, "the age of grace and the era of efficiency," the young Basque doctor Jean-Marc Montjean falls in love with Katya Treville, a young Parisian woman. His brief and heartbreaking relationship in what he calls the "Summer of Katya" ultimately devastates him in life. In this short story(about 280 pages), Trevanian has brilliantly encapsulated the unfathomable intensity of love and youth. Set in the Basque region of Southwestern France, the novel is a pristine example of the author's artistic and lyrical writing talent. It is a novel that is not only read but is "experienced." It leaves the reader with a profound sense of melancholy that only a writer of Trevanian's calibre and genius can deliver. For those sick of the mainstream nauseating happily ever after love stories, "The Summer of Katya" is written for you...an expertly weaved tragic romance that is unforgettable! Trevanian has truly shown that there is poetry and beauty in sadness. You will shed a bucket of intellectual tears!!!!
from NYC , January 9, 1998 SPOILER - If you want to read this book, (although I don't recommend doing so) don't read this! I fail to see why this book was a major bestseller in 1983. Maybe the author's other works, which seem to be spy/intrigue novels, are better. However, 90% of the book is completely boring: in 1914, a young doctor meets an independent, intelligent, and unusual young woman and is romantically intrigued, although there are vague hints that something dark may lie in her family's past. Nothing at all happens until the final 10% of the book, where we have the violent denouement, and the confession which explains it all. This technique may work in a skilfully crafted mystery, where clues were left along the way, but it does not work in this particular case. Moreover, the book is generally offensive, as it ends up saying that all of the qualities which made the young woman, Katya, so unique and interesting (her knowledge and education, her unconventionality, her style of dress, even her choice of an exotic name, etc.) all have to do with her having been the victim of rape, and were supposedly indications that she was truly insane. In other words, if someone is unconventional in any way, it surely isn't because they are actually intelligent and independent - they MUST be SCREWED UP! Bleah. Give this one a miss. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A reader from DC , March 10, 1999 one of the best books i've read in my life....simply adorable book. i wished the book never ended, every page was a treasure...and when it did finally end, i was speechless. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.