Balzac described Cousin Bette as one of his "scenes of Parisian life", and it is certainly that. It offers us a hypnotic vision of that infinitely varied city during the bright, vital, scandalous, and sexually untrammeled era of King Louis-Philippe. The courtesans, swindlers, bankers, artists, murderers, detectives, and saints populating this world pass before us invested with a verve and vividness unsurpassed in the history of the novel.
(P)1999 Blackstone Audio Inc.
professor. like great and VERY good books, fiction and history, mainly
This is a delightful, witty, scathingly ironic novel of 18th century Paris. Joanna Ward raises it to even greater heights -- she is simply a wonderful narrator.
This book falls into the category of "can't put it down." I found it to be fascinating and captivating, all of the characters are rich. I found that I had to really listen and pay attention, especially in the beginning, but once I was hooked it was most rewarding. The narrator does an exceptional job. You will think about this story even when you are not listening to it.
A fine example of inspired professional writing. I read this book after it was mentioned in Prose's reading like a writer...and I was not disappointed. The style of writing is while florid, still engaging and accessible. The number of French clich?s is a delight to the student of language, but having a basic command of French and Paris will make the book all the more enjoying. I recommend this book as the audio backdrop for a 2 week vacation in Paris.
But, I warn the naive or moralistic that this book can be quite shocking...although never pornographic. Rich complex, although often cartoonish character studies.
Good emotional insights, and many tragic insights on the struggles of the un-attractive vs the favored and the transitory nature of both.
Immigration lawyer in Kansas City. I like Character driven dramas, fantasy (monsters, magic and witches oh my!) and coming of age stories. Favs include: The Book Thief, The Game of Throne series, Harry Potter Series, Dresden Files, Nightside series, anything by Neil Gaimen, 100 Years of Solitude.
I loved this book. it was very modern despite being an old book. It actually reminded me alot of Anna Karinena I would recommend his book to any one. The narrator was excellent too.
I did listen twice because I could not keep the characters apart and the reader didn't change her voice enough to help me remember individual characters. After I got past that it was easier to listen to.
Actually, none of them since none were able to see their own problems let alone do anything about them.
In the beginning it was difficult to keep the characters apart.
No, not possible.
I was a lot like a modern day soap opera.
I don't know. Though it seems like a good topic roster to listen to, I had trouble staying interested at times. Maybe it was the reading.
Great story that feels immediate, even though the world has changed. People always want more sex, security and power. Universal.
Johanna Ward reads this book beautifully! She clearly has excellent control of both French and English and it shows! Thanks!
The writing is strong and it is easy to see why Balzac is still read. However, the society about which he writes is so unlikeable and Balzac is not writing ironically about it (so it is not clear he knew how narrow minding it was) that listening became quite tiresome. I did not finish it.
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