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Showing 1-10 of 17 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 46 reviews
on May 10, 2015
Perfect. Or as close to perfection as Balzac gets. The opening 22-page section is a master class for any aspiring novelist in how to set the scene, introduce the characters, suggest the conflicts, reveal the theme, set a whole fictional world spinning on its axis, all with an economy of means as present here as it is absent from the exasperating PERE GORIOT.

Characters are distinct individuals and thus an unsolvable mystery to others as well as themselves. Yet each gets his or her due - even the miser whose avarice is a logical alternative to the religious fanaticism of wife and daughter. When he sings and dances a jig after cornering gold, we happily join in! Novel stands or falls, of course, with the characterization of Eugenie: it is flawless. A portrayal of a young woman besieged by passion for the first time - how it consumes her, elates her, debases her, destroys her - is rendered with such psychological accuracy, such telling detail, such delicacy of touch and subtlety of shading, even at times with such humor, that the encomiums about Balzac that sometimes puzzle us finally ring true:

"In Balzac, every living soul is a weapon loaded to the very muzzle with will."
Baudelaire

"Balzac's great glory is that he pretended hardest."
James

"The nineteenth century, as we know it, is largely an invention of Balzac's."
Wilde
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on June 25, 2012
This is the second novel by Balzac I have read (Old Goriot the first) and I am quickly becoming a fan. I am looking forward to reading Cousin Bette. I agree with another reviewer who found it difficult to believe that Eugenie could fall so deeply in love with her cousin after one meeting. One might also wonder why the book was titled after Eugenie since the majority of the novel focused on her disgustingly greedy father. Eugnie did not become the main character until the last fourth of the novel. That aside, this is a good story and I enthusiastically recommend it.
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on January 1, 2015
I don't know how many folks read Balzac these days. If one wanted to try one of his novels, this would be the one to try. It is not difficult to read and is not long. I have read a number of his novels and this was one of the best. If you do not care for this book, there is probably little point in trying the others.
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on March 2, 2014
If you didn't dig anything else Balzac penned, you won't like this either.
Good setting, a little like a travel brochure in a couple of places, but overall..I like it.
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on January 19, 2014
Penguin has commissioned new Balzac translations. Why? To be update? But Balzac is not writing now, and the translation, though now over half a century old, is more than serviceable. It is superb, offering perfect timing for Balzac's wonderful sentences, ironic and often funny. No more out of date than Balzac.
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on March 16, 2017
DETERMINISTIC
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on January 7, 2015
great
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on March 25, 2014
Kept my interest from beginning to end.

Interesting writing style - NO CHAPTERS! Narrative just continues without a break, rather like the monotonous life of Eugenie.
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on March 24, 2008
A short character study by the great French master of manners and the human heart. Not to be missed!! The downfall of a miser and his daughter's attempt to make recompense.
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on December 24, 2012
A wonderful window into 19th Century small town France, with its grit, greed, corruption, love found and lost. Heart wrenching, at times humorous and utterly amazing story of Eugenie's life with a tyrannical and avaricious father.
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