Friday, June 2, 2017

Review: The Girl with the Golden Eyes by Honore Balzac

Synopsis: The story follows the decadent heir Henri de Marsay, who becomes enamored of the titular beauty, Paquita Valdes, and plots to seduce her. He succeeds but becomes disillusioned when he discovers she is also involved with another lover and so plots to murder her. When he arrives to kill her, he discovers that she is already dead by the hand of her lover, his half-sister. She declares that Paquita came from a land where women are no more than chattels, able to be bought and used in any way. In the last lines of the story, de Marsay tells a friend that the girl has died of "something to do with the heart." (from the wikipedia page)

Review:  After reading Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie, I determined to read Honore Balzac myself. It seemed prudent to begin with a slim volume, or I might be compelled to finish a book I loathed. I’m thankful I did. Balzac writes in style similar to Salman Rushdie (bleck) or Tolstoy, where I’m certain they are saying Very Important Thing About Life, but even should my breath depend on it, I cannot comprehend the word
This story was composed entirely of tedious prose interspaced by the occasional bright flash of violence or lust, only to drop immediately back into excessive verbiage. Only by reading an outside synopsis was I able to pick out the plot of the story. Most of the book was devoted to a dull, pretentious, philosophical expose of the people who inhabit Paris.
Per my rule, I shall give Balzac on more try. I own a large novel of his and will eventually read it. But I am reluctant to waste time on a writer whose style I already know I do not enjoy. 

Note: I have chosen a picture of an original illustration for the first printing of the book instead of the cover. There are many covers, ad the story has long by out of copyright. 

Bookmarks: 2.5 of 5

Awards: None

ISBN: 0-7867-0561-2
Year Published: 1835 (Trans. in 1998 by Carol Cosman)
Date Finished: 5-23-2017
Pages: 119

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