A Life is the first book I read by the French author Guy De Maupassant, and it will certainly not be the last. In these days, when we are stuck in houses, the author’s beautiful depictions of nature will take you to France. You will love some characters, and you will want to slap others.
A Life tells Jeanne’s story, whose passion we admire to embrace life with all her soul and spend every minute to the fullest. Returning to her family after finishing her convent education at the age of 17, Jeanne is eager to taste what the world has to offer and all the beautiful, exciting emotions one can experience. And she meets Julien. After that, her life will continue with events she never expected.
Although the desperateness of being a woman in the nineteenth century pissed me off, I finished the book in a short time, thanks to Maupassant’s unique language and moving story. When one reads a classic after so many contemporary novels, one understands its value better. Enjoy!
What is a life? How shall a storyteller conceive a life? What if art means pattern and life has none? How, then, can any story be true to life? These are some of the questions which inform the first of Maupassant’s six novels. Une Vie (1883) in which he sought to parody and expose the folly of romantic illusion. An unflinching presentation of a woman’s life of failure and disappointments. Where fulfillment and happiness might have been expected, A Life recounts Jeanne de Lamare’s gradual lapse into a state of disillusion.
With its intricate network of parallels and oppositions, this book reflects the influence of Flaubert in its attention to form and so its coherent structure. It also expresses Maupassant’s characteristic naturalistic vision in which the satire of bourgeois manners. The representation of the aristocracy in pathological decline, the so undermining of human individuality and ideals. And so the study of deterioration and disintegration, all play a role. But above all Maupassant brings to his first novel the short story writer’s genius for a focused tension between stasis and change. And this book is one of his most compelling portraits of dispossession and powerlessness.
Guy de Maupassant
Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant was a 19th-century French author, remember as a master of the short story form. And as a representative of the Naturalist school, who depicted human lives. And destinies and so social forces in disillusioned and often pessimistic terms.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: