Wednesday, September 6, 2017

175. Bel-Ami

Guy de Maupassant
250 pages

175...that's sort of a milestone isn't it?  Let's celebrate by talking about yet another French novel where a man destroys the women in his life who love him, both emotionally and financially.

Bel-Ami tells the story of Georges Duroy, a poor clerk in Paris who recently returned from military service in Algeria.  He runs into an old military pal of his, Forestier, who agrees to get him a job as a journalist.  Initially, Georges has trouble writing his articles and is helped by Forestier's wife, Madeline.  Madeline introduces him to the upper middle class echelon of Paris, and through her he is able to make influential connections and a few "conquests."

Apparently, the recent film adaptation of this novel bombed, which I gather was largely due to Robert Pattinson's performance.  Not having seen the movie, I can't really judge.  Still, I don't think Georges was that rich of a character, which might have been why Pattinson's performance was reviled.  Georges was a huge dick, but he lacked the charisma and cunning to be a truly memorable villain.  Instead, he was just a user and really, what's so special about that?

So overall, this was basically a worse version of Balzac's Lost Illusions.  Skip!

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

Brent Simon, of Shared Darkness, was heavily critical of the movie, calling it "a gassy, self-satisfied adaptation of the 1885 novel of the same name...[Bel-Ami] belies the erroneous notion that costume dramas automatically have a higher IQ than their contemporary dramatic brethren."  Aw, snap!

Trailer from YouTube:

UP NEXT: Marius the Epicurean by Walter Pater.  Haven't heard of either the novel or the author so my hopes aren't high.

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