Cousin Bette by Honoré de Balzac
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
My first Balzac.
I had the impression, somewhere, that I would have to sit through some dreary pompous horrorshow, perhaps pulpy purple prose with a plethora of prodigious penuries.
But to be sure, I did get a horrorshow, but not the kind I expected. Indeed, I had a great time once I fell into a certain kind of groove. You know what I mean. The kind that you get into when reading a good Stephen King novel, revving up with a huge cast of dispicable human beings whom you have a great time rooting for their ultimate demises. Hopefully with some supernatural beastie tormenting them to their dooms. Or devils dragging them to suddenly opening graves. Something like that.
To think that this was considered one of the great REALIST novels! By a realist novelist! In all honesty, it reads like the plot of some 1980's daytime soap opera but placed in post-Napoleonic France.
Enter the mass-philandering Baron and his wife who doesn't care! Enter the disgruntled spinster who, just after finding a taste of love, has her younger cousin come in like a bitch to scoop him up, sending the spinster into a whirlwind of Italian rage and vengeance that will last the rest of their lives.
Is this total preoccupation with Sex and Death funny? Yep. As I said, I'm a fan of Stephen King. I rooted for EVERYONE'S ultimate tragedy. :)
If this is realism, then what does that say about me? Hmmmm... oh my.
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