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Viper's Tangle

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4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  813 ratings  ·  60 reviews
“Mauriac’s best novel.”—Catholic World


“A lucid and penetrating study . . . Mauriac proves himself as good a storyteller as he is a psychologist.”—The New York Times


“A most admirable and exciting novel.”—New Statesman

The masterpiece of one of the twentieth century’s greatest Catholic writers, Vipers’ Tangle tells the story of Monsieur Louis, an embittered aging lawyer who h...more
Paperback, 312 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by Loyola Classics (first published 1932)
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Ahmed El  Wakeel

انها بالفعل رواية العلاقات الإنسانية من الدرجة الأولى.
تسألني عن الإستفادة ... أقولك وفيرة, تسألني عن العمق أقولك ان مورياك محلل نفسي بارع, تحدثني عن واقعية الأبطال ... أشك في وجودهم على الورق فقط, تناقشني حول المردود ... أؤكدلك انعدام المفقود.
ربما عرضي هذا نتيجة وصولي حد الإستثارة النهائي .. ربما. لكن أينفي ذلك جدارة فرانسوا وتمكنه من ان يتركني أعاني الأمرّين (فقد ألفة الكتاب .. و ظلم للتقييم). نجح نجاح مزهل في خلق صورة ثلاثية الأبعاد. أعشق تلك الروايات الزاخرة بالجوانب الإنسانية ... روايات ترش
...more
Abdullah

إلى أي حدّ يمكن للمال أن يعبث بأصحابه و بحياتهم ؟
لويس في منتصف الستينات و في عمر مناسبة للرحيل و يبدو مرشحاً بشدة إذا ما تذكرنا مشاكله الصحية المتعلقة بقلبه . و ينحدر من أصول متواضعة لولا أن الحياة ضحكت قليلاً - قلما تفعل - فوجد نفسه أحد الملاك و الإقطاعيين الجدد و الذين لا ينقصهم شيء سوى مصاهرة عائلة برجوازية كبرى و هذا ما حدث . و البطل نابغة في الحقد كما ينعته ابنه الأكبر هوبير و هو نابغة أيضاً بالتوفير المبالغ به - أقصد البخل ، درجة متقدمة جداً من البخل - و صغار العائلة و كبارها يتهامسون بصوت...more
Bram
May 10, 2009 Bram rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009
The narrator of Vipers' Tangle is a near-perfect mix of Dostoevsky's Underground Man and Tolstoy's Ivan Ilych. Which is to say, he's a bitter, bitter bastard. For some reason, I felt sure that this book would end up heavy-handed or sentimental. Early on Louis is just too miserly, to the point where it's almost beyond credulity. Rather than clumsily over-playing his hand, Mauriac, it turns out, intentionally includes this too-greedy-to-be-believed aspect as an effective plot point. Every time you...more
MJ Nicholls
An embittered old turd writes a mad, furious letter to his wife, whom he hates with a vengeance, which becomes a lengthier journal to his family, whom he hates with an even bigger vengeance. Because he hates them so darned much, he spends his every waking hour planning to diddle them out their inheritance, while they fret about how much their Grandpa hates them and is planning to diddle them out their inheritance. At certain rare moments, the Grandpa takes a break from his hatred and tries out a...more
amal
رائعة جداً فكرة الرواية، يحكي العجوز لويس عن قلبه وكيف أصبح (عقدة الأفاعي) بكل تجرّد وبطريقة صادمة خاصة فيما يتعلق بوالدته ومشاعره تجاه ابنائه.
تتعاطف معه في بعض المواقف وتشك في صدق نياته في مواقف أخرى ويرافقك الشك إلى نهاية الرواية، ذلك الحقد العجيب الذي تجذّر بداخله يجعل من عاطفته الإنسانية شيء معاكس للطبيعة !

اقتباسات من الرواية :

– حتى خيار الناس لايتعلمون وحدهم كيف يحبون؛ فالتجاوز عن سخف الآخرين ونقائصهم وغباوتهم يقتضي ان تعرف طريقة للحب لم يعد يعرفها العالم.

– ان أكثر البشر لايد لهم في إصطفا...more
Gemma Williams
A brilliant and beautifully written study of greed, hypocrisy, jealousy and hatred, it conveys the corrosive effect of avarice through the story of an elderly man eaten up by hatred for the family who are all longing to get their hands on his money, and how he schemes to disinherit them. I especially like the contrast between the pious cliches of the family whose professed faith never makes the slightest difference to the way they live their lives, and the anti-religious miser who actually seems...more
Jim
In this, the fourth of Francois Mauriac's that I have read, I am just now beginning to see what he is about. The Knot of Vipers of the title is not only a description of the unnamed miser's heart, but also of his family, which is conspiring to subvert his will and take as much of his fortune for themselves.

Except for the last few pages, the story is narrated by the miser, who, at the age of sixty-eight, is suffering from angina and appears to be in danger of imminent heart failure. The aridity...more
booklady
“. . . Consider, O God, that we are without understanding of ourselves; that we do not know what we would have and set ourselves at an infinite distance from our desires.” ~St. Teresa of Avila

It isn’t often anymore I finish a book in a couple of days but today I was sick and the sickbed does have one advantage: you can’t do very much but sleep and lay around. In between sleeping, I read François Mauriac’s masterpiece, Viper’s Tangle. This is the fourth novel I’ve read from the Loyola Classics Se...more
Hadrian
Excellent novel. Devoured in one sitting. Of course, this isn't much coming from me, but still.

Mauriac isn't talked about too often these days, and it's a shame - he's brilliant. I don't know why. Is it because he's thought of as a Catholic writer? Graham Greene and C. S. Lewis survive, and Dostoevsky with his Orthodox influence. Ah well.

A gripping and complex look at morality, and the deceits and lies people use against each other, with the acidity of revenge playing a major role in the book,...more
Hanne
This is an intense drame of the life of a bourgoise family of Bordeaux in the beginning of the 20th century. More particularly, it is a letter written by an old man filled with hate of his family, his wife and their children. As a young he lost his hope of life and love as he learned that the wife married him to avoid a life as a celibataire and because of his money (she came from an old noble family which now didn't have anymore money, his family had money, but was not "old"). He thinks that hi...more
Samira
النسخة العربية والتي من تعريب نزيه الحكيم - دار النشر المصرية- الطبعة الأولى 1947
.......
لقد كان ذلك جديرا بالضحك, وكنت اضحك منه وحدي, لاهثا بعض اللهاث ,متكئا على جذع دالية ,قبالة الضباب الشاحب الذي اختفت وسطه القرى بكنائسها والطرق بأشجارها العالية ,وكان نور المغيب يشق لنفسه طريقا عسيرا الى هذا العالم المصور. وكنت أحس جريمتي ,كنت اراها والمسها.ا
لم تكن كلها في هذا الوكر الكريه ,وكر الآفاعي ,في بغض أولادي وطلبي الثأر وحبي المال،بل كانت أيضا في رفضي البحث عما وراء هذه الأفاعي المتراكبة.لقد وقفت عند...more
Jenn
I read this story years ago and it took me about just as long to remember its name; however, I never forgot the impact it had on me. As part of the reading list for a religious studies course focusing on love and friendship, this story was meant to help the students examine the deterioration of a person's heart and soul.
Throughout the entire story the reader is kept in suspension between completely hating the main character and finding themselves cheering him on during his revelations and letter...more
Mazel
Prix Nobel de Littérature 1952
*

De la haine, de la colère, de l'aigreur : voilà tout le fiel dont dégouline le coeur du vieil homme qui meurt, et qui décrit celui-ci comme un "noeud de vipères [...:] saturé de leur venin".

Vingt-trois ans de haine silencieuse qui éclate dans la lettre qu'il laisse à sa famille : l'heure est venue de régler les comptes.

D'accuser et de punir : vingt-trois ans plus tôt donc, il avait cru faire un mariage d'amour avec Isa, demoiselle Fondaudège, en même temps qu'il...more
أسيل
قلبه عقدة من الافاعي يختنق بثقلها مشبعاً بسمعها ولا يزال يخفق تحت هذا الضجيج,
ففي وكر الافاعي الذي اجتاحه بل هو من اقتحمها واوصل نفسه اليها وان تعاطفت معه بعدة مواقف كان يرفض البحث عما وراء هذه الافاعي المتراكبة وبدأ يقف عند عقدة الافاعي وكان يراها كريهة كما قلبه وكما لو خالطت نبضات قلبه فحيح الزواحف من اثر تلك الهواجس الضاله المتشعبة في نفسه
سجين هوى هو لا صله له باعماق نفسه وان كان احيانا بحديثه ياخذنا لعمق نفسه لكن الاهواء هي المسيطر,( اني
اتكلم لوحدي لاني وحدي ابداً والحوار ضروري للنفس فاية غ...more
Laura

This is the story of Louis, a French lawyer, who writes a confession letter to his wife, just before his death.



In this drama, Mauriac shows the lack of communication between the members of a typical French family, showing how a viper's tangle may come up with this lack of comprehension among them.



According to the author, this is "story of a blind man by his passions, who believes hate his wife and children and love only money, while his nature, if he had followed, would have led to the love of G

...more
eva
all right, all right. it took two rounds of voting to settle on the april book club selection, and i specifically voted against this one for no good reason both times. but i ended up loving it. mauriac doesn't shy away from making the main character a truly wretched, hateful old man, and demonstrating in surgical detail just how responsible he is for his own misery. at the same time, you can't get away from feeling compassion for his very human vulnerabilities, misunderstandings, and failures. i...more
Pierre E. Loignon
Ce que j’apprécie par-dessus tout dans un roman psychologique, c’est l’explosion éblouissante de l’intériorité. Arriver à rapprocher d’aussi près deux mondes parallèles, restant dans la plus stricte méconnaissance l’un de l’autre, et montrer qu’ils se stimulent inconsciemment mutuellement à deux types d’excellences héroïques est un tour de force sublime. De plus, les réactions absolument contingentes envers le christianisme, en tant que symbole d’opposition politique à une autre classe sociale,...more
Jill
Wow! The narrator of this book is an unbelievably bitter, suspicious miser. Having said that, I was a little concerned about what was wrong with me when I didn't loathe him as I was reading it. I pitied him. He never enjoyed his life. This is a short read, but a difficult one, on account of the bitterness of it. It is amazingly well-written. I particularly enjoyed the introduction to this book. I also enjoyed the "about the author" segment at the end. I am really interested in reading more of Ma...more
Denise
I first read this when it was a set book for my 'A' level French course. In French! I must admit, it didn't particularly grip me as an 18yr old but I kept returning to it over the years & have re-read it several times since then.

There's something about this flawed, dysfunctional family that appeals to me. The patriarch, Louis, is despicable and tragic at the same time.

From his description of the landscape of Les Landes it is clear that Mauriac loved this part of France.
Fuad Takrouri
لا،لا تحسبي أني أرفع كثيراً من شأن نفسي .إني أعرف قلبي،هذا القلب،هذه العقدة من الأفاعي،يختنق بثقلها مشبعا بسمها،وما يزال يخفق تحت هذا الضجيج.عقدة الأفاعي هذه يستحيل حلها،ويجب قطعها بضربة من سكين،بضربة من سيف)) لم آت لأحمل السلام بل السيف)).
Martina
Hmm, where to start? I thought that D.H. Lawrence's Paul in Sons and Lovers was the best example of how a mother can rot her son. Well let me tell you, Monsieur Louis is rotten to the point that he doesn't even know how to love.
In his book Viper's tangle, Francois Mauriac has created what we would call in today's world a sociopath at the least. "Beneath the waters there slept a principle of corruption, a putrid secret, and I did nothing to stir it from the mud."
Louise's widowed mother had buil...more
Tony
Mauriac, Francois. VIPER’S TANGLE. (1932; this ed. 1987). *****. Mauriac won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1952. This is only the second of his novels that I have read, the first being “Flesh and Blood,” which was assigned as part of the readings for a seminar on the modern novel I had in college. Back then, that was more of a modern novel than it is today, but Mauriac seems to write books that resonate and connect with readers of all times. This book is a psychological study of how vulgar m...more
Ghenwa
Although it was one of these books by which I was expecting such ending or at least most of what the story-line was heading to ...
But I must admit It has touched my heart deeply , and it has took me a while to snap out of the mode i found myself in..
Overall the story conveys one of these messages that we don't only read and learn abt them in books , but perhaps we hear about in our daily life's...
Its really surprising how seeing things from only one side can cause alot of misunderstandings... a...more
Willa
Jun 08, 2009 Willa rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009
I wonder if Marianne Robinson, who wrote "Gilead", was inspired by this book Viper's Tangle by Francois Mauriac. The format -- letters written by a dying man, coming to write more than he originally intended -- is quite similar. The book also reminded me strongly of The Death of Ivan Illich, with its similar trajectory of a dying man with cold relatives who finds redemption in his final days.

Francois Mauriac is a Catholic author -- I came across his name when I read Flannery O'Connor's letters...more
Christian Engler
The day-to-day struggles of human existence are quite difficult for many people, and for others, they are a marvelling pleasure, and why is that? What sets one group of humanity apart from the other whereby their only connection is the gossamer thread of humanism? It is faith in Jesus Christ and how that faith is utilized in the molding and or sculpting of humanism to hopeful, healthy perfection. Yet, too, what are the molding tools that are used in the vast dichotomy of that living? The univers...more
Joseph Sverker
Mauriac fångade mig genaste redan med citatet från Teresa av Avila och när man ser till bokens helhet är det ett fantastiskt väl valt citat. Vilka är våra begär, eller längtan, och hur leder de oss?

Reflektionerna av mannen är intessanta och man blir inte uttråkad av dagboksformated. Jag undrar lite dock varför boken ändrar "läsare" i mitten, från att var riktad till frun till att vara riktad till någon mer generell läsare, eller sig själv?

Det är en intressant bok utifrån religionsbegreppet också...more
Charles Lewis
To be honest, I didn't know what to make of this book. For one, it is very claustrophobic as it is essentially the diary of a dying man venting his spleen at this wife and children. It is also be portrayed as a Catholic novel but I'm not sure entirely why. The issue of faith comes up but that would be expected in France. I'll admit that while the book seemed to be devoid of light or humour or even some sense of awakening it kept moving. I kept wondering just how much venom could one man have. Th...more
May
Es una obra bien pensada, estructurada, trabajada... algo que admiro mucho, estoy plenamente segura que, como en todo, lo más importante en algo es el trabajo y no la inspiración.... La descripción de sentimientos, situaciones familiares y cotidianas, enfocándose en la forma de pensar de cada personaje es genial, y quizá lo más importante de la lectura. Sin embargo no me elevó, como otras obras y tampoco me dejó mucho para el futuro (al menos eso pienso ahora) me quedo con esta frase "...nada po...more
Patrick Fisher
Amazing book. Having recently read C.S. Lewis' "Till We Have Faces," I am again astounded by a book's ability to beautifully display the truth of "where sin abounds, graces abounds all the more." A truly inspiring, emotional read, I highly recommend for anyone who doubts God's working in the modern world.
Edith Wasco
Nunca había leído nada de este autor francés, pero en mi reciente viaje al Distrito Federal descubrí esta hermosa colección (Editorial Orbis) de escritores ganadores del premio Nobel y la sinopsis me llamó la atención. La historia no es nada original (un hombre viejo a punto de morir y cuya familia desea que muera pronto para heredar), sin embargo Mauriac logra retratar las emociones, principalmente la amargura y odio del protagonista, con excelsa profundidad y realismo. La obra aborda el desenc...more
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François Charles Mauriac was a French writer and a member of the Académie française. He was awarded the 1952 Nobel Prize in Literature "for the deep spiritual insight and the artistic intensity with which he has in his novels penetrated the drama of human life." Mauriac is acknowledged to be one of the greatest Roman Catholic writers of the 20th century.
More about François Mauriac...
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