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Jacques the Fatalist (Classics) Kindle Edition
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It's ponderous, obtuse and slow as molasses. It jumps back and forth, regaling itself in its style of interruptions and side-tracks. Largely "conversational" the story's 2 main characters engage each other in an interminable conversation, often characterized by rather "smart ass" commentary by both, and interrupted by late 1700s ribald adventures. Besides that, the philosophy and life views expressed are decidedly passé, some 130-140 years later, and - worse - kind of uninteresting. Is this one of the first novels? I'll pass on that question.
For me "Jacques" is impossible to rate, though rate it I must. It's no more than a 2 in my mind, but others may find it fascinating and a grand commentary on life in the late 1700s, as well as find reason to analyze it for its novel structure and format. I'm satisfied to delete it from my Kindle.
Surely many writers and artists from this era (like Goya) depicted the nobles as effete and incapable of carrying out the governance of the most basic requirements of existence, but here, they also appear (in the image of the 'master') as so withdrawn from the world as to be blind. If you take away all the stories that are told, the only thing that's left of a plot here is the master having his horse stolen right from under his nose while Jacques was gone and then Jacques finding it for him at the end in a beautiful, mock sort of deus ex machina.