Top positive review
A Grand Work of Genius
Reviewed in the United States on October 9, 2017
I never expected to fall in love with Balzac, seeing as how he was just another DWM and sooooo Eurocentric. Yeah, but he's a great storyteller, and if you're really convinced that once upon a time people were better or different or less complex or something, well, here's the antidote. Granted, you occasionally want to have a scorecard to keep all the players straight (and sometimes you don't), but that's a small price to pay for the delicate savagery with which he skewers the pompous fools of his day. I had to laugh at his portrayal of 19th century journalists and newspapers: if you're a historian, you may think twice and then think again about using one as a source. And then there's his clear esteem for bankers, financiers, clergymen, government bureaucrats; no one really escapes. Balzac can occasionally try your patience when he decides to explain the intricacies of a legal accounting, papermarking, and the rest, but, really, if you finding yourself nodding, then skip ahead. After all, did you read all of the stuff about whaling in Moby Dick? An extraordinary novel, and compared to Flaubert's Sentimental Education, a much grander work of genius.