Rita's Reviews > Cousin Pons

Cousin Pons by Honoré de Balzac
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's review
Jun 15, 08

bookshelves: novels-set-in-other-countries, translated-novel
Read in June, 2008

My first Balzac. Definitely a good writer.
[Though I am going on a Dutch translation since I can't read French... - Neef Pons]
It's harrowing for me to read in such great detail how normal ordinary people start manipulating and deceiving in order to cheat an honest but vulnerable man out of his possessions, hastening his death.

Almost unbearable to read 300 pages of this inhumane behavior. But Balzac describes it all very plausibly and makes good points about the slippery slope -- how easy it is, once you get started deceiving someone, to just go on and on and worse and worse. Seems to be no way to turn back.

Balzac seems to have a keen appreciation of human nature, of psychology.

It's amazing to read how marriages were so much based on money and property. One rich couple give their own main estate to their prospective son-in-law to get him to agree to marry the daughter.

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