Craig's Reviews > Lost Illusions

Lost Illusions by Honoré de Balzac
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Mar 01, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: 1001-books-to-read-before-you-die, favorites
Read from February 13 to 29, 2012

Wow. Even though during the process of experiencing this fine work I slogged a bit, in looking back at it as a whole, Lost Illusions is the best Balzac I have read. Part I only gets the ball rolling throgh Balzac's human comedy. After Lucien gets a taste of where he wants to be (in both a negative and positive way) and David also decides his pathway, we are left with only Lucien for the entire Part II, where this work really shines. By the time one gets to Part III, the resolution is vaguely distinguished and soon one is already there with a few surprises which I will not give away--they are not groundbreaking or earth-shattering, but interesting none the less. Balzac's strength (of many) lies in his characters, the interactions between them are important to the plot but it is those interactions that make the characters alive and vibrant. Balzac reminds me of Dickens, I can't exactly explain the reasons why, he just does (sorry, that is due to my lack of literary knowledge--or my lack of ability to recall it). That said, there are some gems in this work, the frank discussions of journalism as prostitution and the literary/theatrical/political worlds inner worlds and workings--part of the process of the scales falling from Lucien's eyes, a lost illusion among many.
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