Father Goriot Hardcover – September 10, 2010
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- Publisher : Kessinger Publishing, LLC (September 10, 2010)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 260 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1169305121
- ISBN-13 : 978-1169305120
- Lexile measure : 1180L
- Item Weight : 1.47 pounds
- Dimensions : 7.01 x 0.63 x 10 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #4,369,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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This book had all of the drama and intrigue one might find in an F. Scott Fitzgerald or Mikhail Lermontov novel, but set in France, of course.
If you like high society dramas set in the 1800s, you're in for a treat.
The author has the uncanny ability to express thoughts and experience readers have or are familiar with either from family encounters or in reading Dear Abby: stuff you know but can't express as the author does in story and in sentences.
Sharpen your pencil or buy a new highlighter before reading this book to save time since you'll be underlining or highlighting a lot.
Since the story's setting is in another age and the language is from another age, it takes a few pages to adjust.
This is not a page turner; it's a thought provoker.
The characters are so well drawn, as are the times, the era, the city of Paris in all it's glory and misery. These are what make the book great
The problem is the translations of many of these free books. They are translated by more than one person, and it's very obvious. Some sections are fine, others very poor and hard to follow. So we aren't getting a fair shot at reading the novel as it was written. It's too bad, because these erratic translations may turn some readers away from the classic,novels of the 18th and 19th centuries.
Top reviews from other countries
In this book you also see characters that appear in other books in 'La Comedie Humaine'. It is 1819 and Rastignac is residing in the lodging house of Mme Vauquer. Although supposedly respectable, this house is for those low on their luck, as it is very shabby. Whilst there he comes into contact with Vautrin, M Goriot, and other tenants of the building, as well as other characters, as he tries to make his way in society. Rastignac ultimately is in Paris to study for the Bar but he becomes interested in the higher echelons of society and tries to become one of these people. The main plot centres around the Lear-esque Goriot and his two daughters, but it also takes in more than this, showing the vanity and corruption of society, as well as what it takes to get on.
Always worth reading, you are soon pulled into this tale and your attention is held, you almost feel that you are at the Maison Vauquer yourself, and other places in Paris, as this unwinds. I don't really know how popular Balzac is at the moment in this country, but if you have never read anything by him before, then perhaps now is the time to try. This novel is a good introduction to 'La Comedie Humaine' and hopefully you will enjoy it. You will also see why Balzac was hugely influential on authors that came after him, and these weren't just French.
Eugene Rastignac has been sent to study law on dowry of his family, who are simple farmers in the south. Originally driven by a need to study and make good for his family, Eugene, with the offer of some dubious assistance from mysterious fellow boarder Vautraine, sets his sights higher in society with the help of his once distinguished name. A journey through marriages of convenience, jewels, dresses, balls, debt and cold-heartedness strip away the sumptuous veneer of high society Paris.
Balzac's use of florid language suits the cluttered, gaudy salons and overcomplicated social etiquette of his subjects. Rastignac's journey takes him from an outsider in Parisian society, eager to use his once-grand family name to get on, to a player in the most prominent social clique. Yet he is abhorred by the grubby nature of these upper echelons, of which Balzac's descriptions are fascinating.
The characters in Father Goriot are many layered and often many faced, which adds a real depth to the book. The themes of debt and society make an excellent study of the more decorated end of France. In fact, in some ways the book is to the salons of Paris what Les Miserables is to the backstreets. And if you enjoyed Les Miserables then you will probably find Father Goriot similarly grips your imagination.
A beautifully written story of devotion, repaid by selfishness, of love and hope, tarnished by experience, yet goodness prevailing among those with least to give financially. Balzac captures the period with piercing clarity.