One of the best prose writers I've had the pleasure of reading. Some literary giant said that he had learned more from Balzac's works than all the Philosophers, poets, psychologists combined. Having read four from Balzac I can see why. The novels don't have much 'action' going on, but a keen observation of the motives, emotions, characters and the like that give rise to the actions of the characters. One can learn a lot about the hidden nature of the human condition by reading Balzac. And perhaps see oneself reflected back to oneself. That to me is worth the time. The books of course are interesting and entertaining also in the way the words flow and explain the physical world Balzac's characters inhabit. Balzac will show you the difference between Literature and fiction. Well worth the time....and with all there is to read and do these days, that counts for a lot. Well, I certainly think so anyway.