Top positive review
"I am not deep but I am thick."
Reviewed in the United States on May 18, 2015
Thus spake Honore. This one's thick with characters, plots, both high and low, as well as patches of bad prose worse than Dostoevsky and Melville. But as with them one may deplore parts while revering the whole. Novel features the sublime yet terrifying Bette, the charming yet hedonistic Baron Hulot, the courtesan Valerie Marneffe, the artist Wenceslas Steinbock, many others plus hitchcockian visits by Rastignac and Vautrin from PERE GORIOT.
“I have learned more from Balzac than from all the professional historians, economists, and statisticians put together.”
“To open up what society and the novel of manners repress, to stage a kind of explosive upthrust of that which is ordinarily kept down, under control, is Balzac’s delight and his passion. He asks to be read in a spirit of adventure and daring.”
"COUSIN BETTE portrays a world in which almost everyone will do anything to anyone if sex and money are at stake, a milieu in which sex is routinely traded for money, in which friendships and alliances are forged to advance the most immoral motives, and in which only fools and martyrs are deluded enough to follow the outmoded promptings of honor, loyalty, and conscience."