By Richard Mason
Knopf, $25.95, 277 pages

Richard Mason’s History of a Pleasure Seeker introduces the reader to Piet Barol, a common man focused on obtaining wealth, status and pleasure. Piet is not beyond using people to get the status he feels he deserves. His mother, now dead, taught him how to behave and appreciate the finer things in life. This knowledge gives Piet the ability to fool people to believe he is from a higher class than he truly is. He takes a role as tutor for one of the wealthiest families in Amsterdam, and he uses his supposed breeding to his advantage in the well-run household. Mason writes with graphic detail, and the reader easily becomes immersed in life of the early 1900’s in both Amsterdam and New York. Mason develops characters that are so believable, you will swear you have met and pleasured Piet yourself!

Reviewed by Seniye Groff