Honoré de Balzac
Books shape our lives and transform the way we see ourselves and each other. The best books are timeless and continue to be relevant generation after generation. Vintage Classics asked the winners of The Orange Prize for Fiction which books they would pass onto the next generation and why. Rose Tremain chose Eugénie Grandet.
Monsieur Grandet is a very rich man whose chief care is his gold. He runs his household with exacting miserly attention and his wife and daughter suffer a Spartan existence. On the evening of his daughter Eugénie's twenty third birthday his foppish nephew Charles suddenly arrives from Paris. Eugénie has never known passion. Now, in an instant, she falls in love and her life is changed forever. Monsieur Grandet will not countenance his daughter's marriage to her penniless cousin and Eugénie's determination to follow her heart leads her into direct conflict with her father.
'This brilliant but devastatingly sad novel moved me so much, I began it again the moment I got to the end' Rose Tremain.
This convenient dual-language volume includes six of Balzac's most highly regarded short stories: "An Episode During the Terror," a deftly told tale contrasting material poverty with spiritual riches; "A Passion in the Desert," inspired by Balzac's interest in the Near East and his fascination with Napoleon; "The Revolutionary Conscript," a critique of provincial life; "The Forsaken Woman," an intriguing study of female psychology and a how-to seduction manual; "The Unknown Masterpiece," which focuses on the conflict between an artist's commitment to his work and his relationship with the woman who loves him; and "Facino Cane," a tale of a destitute blind man's dreams of restoring his former wealth and power.
Stanley Appelbaum has provided excellent, line-for-line English translations of the text, as well as an informative introduction and notes related to each story. This superb selection of tales by one of the world's great writers of fiction is sure to delight students and devotees of French language and literature.