MadameBook - 2000
Our young narrator-hero is suffering through the regulated boredom of high school when he is transfixed by a new teacher -- an elegant "older woman" (she is thirty-two) who bewitches him with her glacial beauty and her strict intelligence. He resolves to learn everything he can about her and to win her heart.
In a sequence of marvelously funny but sobering maneuvers, he learns much more than he expected to -- about politics, Poland, the Spanish Civil War, and his own passion for theater and art -- all white his loved one continues to elude him. Yet without his realizing it, his efforts -- largely bookish and literary -- to close in on Madame are his first steps to liberation as an artist. Later, during a stint as a teacher-in-training in his old school, he discovers that he himself has become a legendary figure to a new generation of students, and he begins to understand the deceits and blessings of myth, and its redemptive power.
A winning portrait of an artist as a young man, Madame is at the same time a moving, engaging novel about strength and weakness, first love, and the efforts we make to reconcile, in art, the opposing forces of reason and passion.