The Charterhouse of Parma
Around 510 pages
This is the fifth review I have written in the span of three hours and I am definitely due for a lunch break. However, I will crank this one out first and then reward myself with something with lots of cheese.
This is the story of Fabrice, a young nobleman who is the object of his aunt's affections. I know, EWWWWW, right? I couldn't tell if it was considered acceptable back then since liaisons between cousins were encouraged. However, they mention in the book that it would be incest even by 1839's standards. Fabrice is also loved by Clelia, who is possibly even weirder than his aunt. Fabrice is held prisoner several times throughout the novel and it is pretty much up to his lady loves to get him out of his various messes.
I loved Stendhal's The Red and The Black so I knew I was in for a treat. Although I did not enjoy this one quite as much, I am definitely glad I read it.
Not only do we get some great characters, we also get an interesting perspective about the Napoleonic Wars. Having just read War and Peace, I am especially intrigued by the battles. In high school we maybe spent a week on Napoleon, mostly because he had nothing to do with America and so, according to the public school system, it doesn't matter. But the chaotic way that the battles are portrayed in this novel was enlightening to say the least.
I will say that some parts seemed to go on a bit longer than they needed to and the ending was less than satisfying. Still, an entertaining novel and Stendhal continues to impress.
Influenced Balzac and Tolstoy.
The novel was written in 52 days.
UP NEXT: Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol.