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History of a Pleasure Seeker
By Richard Mason
(Knopf, $26)

Determined to move beyond his modest station, charismatic Piet Barol finds work in one of the most prestigious private homes in early-20th-century Amsterdam. The wealthy Vermeulen-Sickerts family has hired him to serve as a tutor for their son Egbert, whose fears and anxieties have rendered him unable to leave the home. As Piet is drawn into this affluent world, he is seduced by the beautiful women and opulent luxury that surround him, leaving him — and those whose lives he has touched — forever changed. Mason’s beguiling fourth novel is dripping with ambition, eroticism and charm.