Christina (A Reader of Fictions)'s Reviews > Bel Ami

Bel Ami by Guy de Maupassant
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Nov 17, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: audiobook
Read from November 17 to 27, 2011

Bel Ami tells the story of Georges Duroy, a man with a magnificent mustache and a desire for advancement and women. Throughout the novel, he attempts to obtain these things, using his incredibly seductive mustache. This is not a joke. Oh how I wish it was.

I seriously hated this novel, which I listened to in audiobook form. Almost from the first, I wanted nothing more than to punch this smarmy French bastard in the face. He is an incredibly awful person and has absolutely zero respect for women. Actually, I think this book should have been subtitled "Monsieur Mustache Seduces Every Woman of His Acquaintance." Why? Because he really does. He beds every female character with more than a couple of lines. The end result of his great success is to categorize all women as whores. Thank you so much for writing this Guy de Maupassant. Womenkind is so grateful.

On top of that, all of these relationships, with the exception of one (which involves seducing the daughter of a mother he seduced), involves adultery. I know that there is a fine French tradition of viewing adulterous relationships as the home of real love, but this isn't the time period of Chretien de Troyes. All of these people are completely awful and unlike other bits of pop culture (like Mad Men) with only terrible characters, these are not even interesting. I don't give a damn about how good anyone is at playing cup and ball, of which there are numerous descriptions.

The audiobook itself was pretty awful as well, I thought. For one thing, the editing does not seem to have been done very well, as the narrator's deep, rattly breaths are often audible. Speaking of which, McDonough does not make a satisfying narrator for this particular story. The book is about a young, attractive man, skilled in seduction, which means that an old man with gasping breaths that make him sound close to death may not be the ideal choice for a narrator. This is not to say that McDonough could not be an excellent narrator for another book that was better edited, but he was not the right choice for Bel Ami.
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07/19/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Martin Haha, Christina, I love this. Agree with you 100%. I wanted to take the damned cup and ball and put it where the sun doesn't shine.


Christina (A Reader of Fictions) Martin wrote: "Haha, Christina, I love this. Agree with you 100%. I wanted to take the damned cup and ball and put it where the sun doesn't shine."

HAHAHA, yes! Cup and ball sounds like the worst game ever. Pretty much the only thing in the world that can make me want to listen to more description of his sexy mustache is a chapter on cup and ball.


Martin maybe Georges Duroy will earn a place on your top ten protagonists you'd like to punch in the face???


Christina (A Reader of Fictions) Martin wrote: "maybe Georges Duroy will earn a place on your top ten protagonists you'd like to punch in the face???"

Hahahaha, maybe. If I ever make another list of that sort, I think he and Babbitt are shoe-ins. ;)


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