You know just enough about the characters — no more, no less. You are provided with just enough background information. It keeps the story tight and moves things along in ways that longer works often struggle with. Perhaps if you look closely you can see the traces of a formula, but it is applied so skillfully that it doesn’t detract from the enjoyment or impact of the narrative.
In a novel that occurs in single day, it can be ironically difficult to mark time and to create atmosphere. There are often limits to setting to consider, as well as how to convey the sense of hours passing without it seeming chaotic or creating too much stress in the reader experience. Guilloux is a master of atmosphere and space.
After reading it, I don’t think I’ll be reading much — or any — more of Simon’s work, but at the same time that didn’t render this novel a complete waste of time.
Molière was a seventeenth-century playwright and I have seen readers approach him with a comparable trepidation to which I’ve seen when high school students approach Shakespeare for the first time.
I saw the Oxford World’s Classics French Decadent Tales sitting on my local independent bookstore’s shelf and I got so excited. French Decadence was a movement that did so much to further the form of the short story in general, but it also has all of those dark stories to tell at twilight that I can’t get enough of.
What constitutes an easy death? Or a difficult one? Though her mother’s death was considered ‘easy’ by doctors, it still involved pain, suffering, and turmoil.
I think it’s obvious by this discussion alone that this is an incredibly complex concept to even touch on, let alone explore in depth, but de Beauvoir does just that in a way that is accessible to the reader and tied to the driving plot. If you’re interested in the mechanics of building conceptual narratives into concrete storylines, this novel is definitely a must-read.
A critique of journalism and the complex politics and corruption present in the newspaper industry in Paris at the turn of the last century, this is a review of Guy de Maupassant’s Bel-Ami.
The real shining piece of this book is the ghost and the setting. The whole world of the opera house comes alive as the ghost wrecks havoc and extracts vengeance. This is a review of Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera (Le Fantôme de l’Opéra).
These two novels were written in 1942, before their author was arrested by the Nazis and sent to Auschwitz where she died of typhoid. The novels and notes were kept in a suitcase and taken by her daughter when she fled from the Nazis during the war. After that, the suitcase remained unopened until 1998. This is a review of Irène Némirovsky’s Suite Française.