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Viper's Tangle

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4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  1,058 ratings  ·  79 reviews
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 has spread his misery to his entire estranged family. Louis writes a journal to explain to them—and to himself—why his soul has been deformed, why his heart seems like a foul nest of twisted serpents. Mauriac’s novel ...more
Paperback, 312 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by Loyola Classics (first published 1932)
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Community Reviews

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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Nancy Burns

This book is a masterpiece by an author
who is often forgotten on reading lists.

Nobel Prize for Literature 1952 is well deserved.
Coup de coeur! Must read!

Here is my review:
http://ipsofactodotme.wordpress.com/2...
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
Milou Pujol
Excellent.
Mauriac explore the complexities of the human mind and heart.
Going through the book, the main character help the reader to explore a wide range of feelings in depth... such as hate, corruption, vengeance, love.

"There is a fatal tendency in all of us to simplify others, to eliminate in them everything that might soften the indictment, give some human lineaments to the caricature which our hatred craves in order to justify itself..."
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
Conor
This novel seems to be the working out of Francis Thompson's famous poem, "The Hound of Heaven." It is a story of grace and how it works on us to the very end. It is a story of how the most visibly religious are often those with the least faith. Beautifully told. No wonder this won the Nobel Prize.
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
Antenna
An ageing and embittered miser, Louis is obsessed with his determination to ensure that not a single member of his family inherits a penny of his considerable wealth. Why does he hate his wife and offspring so much? Is he right to believe that he is loathed in return? To what extent is this situation his fault? As Louis’ plans begin to unravel combined with a sense of his mortality, he begins to see life a little differently. Questions arise as to whether people can really change, or is it a cas ...more
Stephen Case
One of the things that always struck me about C. S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters is how effectively Lewis wrote in a demon’s voice. The character of Screwtape was believable, because Lewis understood how young Christians thought, the beliefs and desires that motivated them. He understood temptation enough to compellingly examine it from a unique and “alien” point of view that was at the same time disturbingly familiar. As strange a connection as that may be, I couldn’t help but compare the first po ...more
Esdaile

«Le nœud de vipères par François Mauriac est l'histoire d'un avare, un avocat en retraite, Louis, qui s'approche à son propre trépas plein de rancœur contre sa femme et contre toute sa famille, et il raconte ses propres pensées et intriques surtout concernant la possibilité de déshériter sa famille, une action qui contrairement a la loi en Angleterre , n'est pas facile en France.
J'aimais bien cette histoire, bien qu'elle fût bien dépressive. Elle me fait penser un peu à l'histoire de «Lolita» pa
...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.
Eve Kay
Like the three star rating says "I liked it".
Here's a short overview of my feelings during the reading of this book, but first, a short explanation on what it's about.
It's about an old man getting his vengeance on his wife. He writes an account of their life (from HIS point of view, bien sur!) and his main goal is to leave this letter for the wife to find after he is dead (in order to avoid having to deal with wiveys reactions, duh). So he tells about his life growing up and how they meet and ho
...more
Andrei Turcu
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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)).
Boris
The vipers' Tangle depicts the crude memories of Louis, an old man confined in a self-created obsession with money and convinced that his family is plotting to take over his wealth. As he is getting old, Louis decides to release his frustration and revenge from his family by telling them about his resentment in his will. But things never are what they seem to be, and no one truly know about its own real nature...

The book is terribly addictive and Mauriac's South West of France in background (win
...more
Evren
"Yok, kendimi çok yüksek gördüğümü görme sakın. Ben kalbimi, bu kalbi, kenetlenmiş engerek yılanlarından meydana gelme bu düğümü, bu yılan düğümünü tanırım; Onların ağırlığı altında boğulmuş, zehirleriyle dolup taşmış olarak, bu vıcır vıcır kaynaşmanın altında yine de çarpmaya devam ediyor bu kalp. Çözmesi imkânsız olan bu yılan düğümünü bir bıçak, bir kılıç vuruşuyla kesmek lazım: Huzur ve sükûn değil, kılıç getirdim sana."

"Ama ne yazık ki, iflas etmek elimde olan bir şey değil! Paramı kaybetme
...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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