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Georges Bernanos
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Nouvelle Histoire De Mouchette

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  254 ratings  ·  30 reviews
One of the great mavericks of French literature, Georges Bernanos combined raw realism with a spiritual focus of visionary intensity. Mouchette stands with his celebrated Diary of a Country Priest as the perfection of his singular art.

"Nothing but a little savage" is how the village school-teacher describes fourteen-year-old Mouchette, and that view is echoed by every righ
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Published (first published 1937)
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I recommend treating the introduction as an afterword. Save it till after you've read the novella. There's so little story to be told in this tiny book, and the introduction gives it all away. Shame on the publishers. This happens so often in classics that I've learned not to go near intros. Spoiler City.
Nora Dillonovich
I watched this film once a day, for a few days. I don't do this with many films- La Strada. Pierrot le Fou I watched upon waking for about a week; it was my version of a cup of coffee and the paper. Umberto D, a nightly salve. But Mouchette- my little savage... this is a brutal and beautiful tale. Raised by generational alcoholics, scorned and abused, shamed daily, Mouchette abhors and desires affection and tenderness- in love with the man who raped her, the fierce and violent world of men is mo ...more
Nate D
Sep 29, 2011 Nate D rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: death had never been real before
Recommended to Nate D by: you can't pet a wildcat
Realism so destitute yet graceful as to attain a kind of shimmering deathly clarity and deep-quarries of potential resonance. Bresson made a film of it. It jumped me at the library with its nyrb cover and only took a day to bolt through.
Brian James
This is one of those novels that doesn't overpower the reader with its sadness, but rather works slowly to overwhelm them in a such a subtle way that the true impact falls upon you only after you've turned the last page. Mouchette is the story of a young girl, who at fourteen, is lost somewhere between the world of childish confusion and grown-up intuition. Told in such beautiful and easy prose, the harshness of the story is elevated into something pleasurable, almost hiding the painful reality ...more
Mark Summers
There are works of literature that readers find "strange."

This particular adjective or atmosphere transcends genre and by it I am not referring to the oddness or unreality of horror stories, apocalyptic stories, or science fiction stories. Such books - for all their imaginative richness - are, nonetheless, written as more-or-less straightforward narratives (most commonly written "to form"); they are escapist works (and I mean this as a compliment to them as having purpose and value), designed to
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Tuck
i would venture to guess that almost every single person on gr's is of peasant stock and that not too many generations past our grandparents or great gp's or whatever, lived the dirty, diseased, brutal life of rural folks. many, most, people still do, though probably not many post to gr's. Mouchette came to a point in her young life where death was just like life. no different. This Bernanos reminds me very much of Jose Cela's "Pascual Duarte" The Family of Pascual Duarte (Spanish Literature Series) by Camilo José Cela ...more
Erma Odrach
Mouchette or "little fly" is a story of a destitute 14-year-old girl living in rural France, searching for hope and a better way of life. Her story is very raw and real, and she is "alone, completely alone, against everyone." Having an alcoholic father, she is abused, scoffed at, shamed, humiliated, raped.

Bernanos repeatedly refers to her as an 'animal', and the schoolmistress, along with other villagers, calls her a 'savage'.
An intensely grim but heartfelt rendering of a young girl living in a
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Jim
Here's a story of a 14-year old girl in rural France (translated from the French) first published in 1937, so we assume we are harkening back to the author's youth in the early 1900's. Kerosene lanterns and candles give other clues of the era. It's a dirt-poor region of smugglers and poachers fueled by alcohol and abuse. People die young from tuberculosis. The deceased grandfather of Mouchette spent time in France's notorious prison in French Guyana, probably Devil's Island. Our main character i ...more
Quinn Slobodian
Some of the great 19th century French novels (Madame Bovary, the Red and the Black) are about the entanglement of their protagonists' self-understanding with the narratives they absorb from books. In Mouchette, Bernanos gives us a protagonist without inputs, a destitute teenage girl with a drunken father who may or may not even be able to read. So what is a person who does not read to a French author? Bernanos himself describes her again and again as an animal and the villagers describe her as a ...more
Justin Evans
Imagine a typical mid century European-continental novel. It's existentialist. It's full of angst. There are large dollops of absurd events. There is a political point in there somewhere, but everything is so personal and subjective that you're never sure what that political point might be. And there's lots of reflection. Okay. And now, instead of the middle-class, twenty or thirty something, over-educated male protagonist, put in a completely impoverished pubescent girl who lacks the words to d ...more
Clint
Poor Mouchette. Unfortunately (or not), my perception of this story is tainted by my love for the Bresson film, which in its refusal to explore psychological realism creates a sublime vision of a soul in transition. Bernanos' novel, on the other hand, at times reads like an essay on a character rather than a story.
Konstantin
A stirring book about adolescence and the power of decision. The girl runs through the rain, meets a friend, gets home late, and becomes engrossed in her own misery. Poverty does not fear itself, it fears realizing that they are poor. Very well written with insight on Mouchette and on her dreary life. The young girl is an outsider and she doesn't know why, just that she must stay solitary. She does not seek pity, but she has not the touch of a loving mother; and that, I suppose, is what happens ...more
Dustin Luke Nelson
Mouchette was almost instantly one of my all time favorites. It's a completely heartbreaking book. The opening scene drops you in the middle of a storm with almost no idea what's going on. It's confusing and beautiful, nearly impossible to get your bearings...it's a masterfully written passage that places you the fractured world of Mouchette. .....so if you want to be depressed for a day or two, read Mouchette. It's good....if you like that sort of thing. I do.
Kristy
Yes, well... difficult. I think the story could have been a great one. I usually love dramatic life stories like these, but somehow it just did not get to me. I think the novel is sometimes a little too vague which does not make you able to connect to the character at all. I did not really get her way of thinking and actions which made it hard to feel some sort of compassion.
Meredith
I enjoyed reading this book. The prose is vivid with detail as it tells the story of a teenaged girl living in neglect in rural France. But man, what a grim story. I had to force myself to finish, hoping in vain for some sort of magically happy ending...
Josh
I still find this book disturbing, and yet, Bernanos tilts ever so slightly toward merciful.
Having read this book four years ago, I still champion Mouchette; the girl, not the novel.
Cris
Admission: Bernanos, french realists as a whole, I'm just not into. French philosophers are less harsh than french realists......
Inge
Hmm, I don't know what to think about this little book. Quite honestly, I find it a bit too dramatic..
Bridget
This book teetered on the edge of creepy and sad and very very French. I still need to watch the film.
Ana
Written in a beautiful French and placed in a gloomy setting, it was short, but quite enjoyable.
Kendall
loved his Diary of a Country Priest so i picked this up at Shake & Co.
Erin
tragic, disturbing book about suicide and the thoughts that lead up to it.
Sanne
Rather gloomy - made me feel unpleasant.
Robert Sweet
Melancholic. Sublime. Tragic.
Pam
Not Bernanos' best, but a good read.
Pilate Glass
Like a haymaker to the diaphragm.
Diane Marie
just simply put, an amazing read...
Stephan
I'd like to see the movie.
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NYRB Classics: Mouchette, by Georges Bernanos 1 5 Oct 29, 2013 09:20AM  
  • Witch Grass
  • Novels in Three Lines
  • The Pure and the Impure
  • The Widow
  • My Fantoms
  • Pages from the Goncourt Journals
  • Moravagine
  • Short Letter, Long Farewell
  • Wish Her Safe at Home
  • Alien Hearts
  • Fatale
  • No Tomorrow
  • Seven Men
  • War and the Iliad
  • The New York Stories
  • Blood on the Forge
  • An Ermine in Czernopol
  • The Outward Room
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Georges Bernanos était un écrivain français, gagneur du Grand Prix du Roman de l'Académie française en 1936 avec Journal d'un curé de campagne.

George Bernanos was a French writer. His 1936 book, Journal d'un curé de campagne (Diary of a Country Priest), won the Grand Prix du roman de l'Académie française.
More about Georges Bernanos...
The Diary of a Country Priest Under Satan's Sun Dialogues des carmélites Monsieur Ouine Los grandes cementerios bajo la luna

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“Suicide only really frightens those who are never tempted by it and never will be, for its darkness only welcomes those who are predestined to it.” 231 likes
“And now she was thinking of her own death, with her heart gripped not by fear but by the excitement of a great discovery, the feeling that she was about to learn what she had been unable to learn from her brief experience of love. What she thought about death was childish, but what could never have touched her in the past now filled her with poignant tenderness, as sometimes a familiar face we see suddenly with the eyes of love makes us aware that it has been dearer to us than life itself for longer than we have ever realized.” 3 likes
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