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O viață

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  10,732 ratings  ·  450 reviews
Jeanne, ayant fini ses malles, s'approcha de la fenêtre, mais la pluie ne cessait pas.
L'averse, toute la nuit, avait sonné contre les carreaux et les toits. Le ciel bas et chargé d'eau semblait crevé, se vidant sur la terre, la délayant en bouillie, la fondant comme du sucre. Des rafales passaient pleines d'une chaleur lourde. Le ronflement des ruisseaux débordés emplissa
Hardcover, 317 pages
Published 2012 by Editura Litera (first published 1883)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  10,732 ratings  ·  450 reviews

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One of those absolutely beautiful books that leave me almost at a loss for words.

So well-written, in beautifully flowing French, and such a hard topic: a woman's lack of choice in 19th century conventional society. A Madame Bovary without the energetic, yet fatalistic drive to change her condition, Maupassant's Jeanne suffers as much, but has a lot less adventure and passion to remember at the end of her life. She is proof that you indeed regret what you didn't do. Even the suffering 19th centur
- Excuse me?

- Madame. 'Ow may I 'elp you?

- I'm looking for a book. Une vie.

- Envie, madame?

- By Maupassant.

- Mont Passant?

- Here, let me write it down.

- Ah! Une vie, de Maupassant.

- Yeah, that's what I said.

- Tout à fait, madame, tout à fait. Yes, we 'ave this book.

- Could you tell me a bit about it?

- Avec plaisir, madame. Jeanne, the 'eroine, is a naïve young girl. She knows nothing of the world, she is rich, 'er parents think they are protecting 'er by 'iding from 'er the verities the most sim
Dec 17, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france
Sometimes it is as bitter to see an illusion destroyed as to witness the death of a friend.

On pleure parfois les illusions avec autant de tristesse que les morts.

A raw and saddening portrayal of the overwhelmingly unhappy life of a woman.
E. G.
Note on the Translation
Select Bibliography
A Chronology of Guy de Maupassant

--A Life

Explanatory Notes
Alice Poon
Jan 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Compared to Bel-Ami, this was a slower-paced read, but the writing is nonetheless beautiful. I was captivated by Maupassant's sensitivities in his descriptive skills in general.

It is a carefully crafted story of an aristocratic lady with a sheltered bring-up who has lived through shattered dreams about love, unhappiness in marriage, betrayals by husband, best friend and friends, disillusions with the mores of her times and disappointment with life in general. Maupassant writes with compassion w
"A life" or the banal story of a woman!
Indeed this book of crude realism tells little: Jeanne, a naive young girl, will marry a boor who will humiliate and deceive her.
But the interest lies above all in the painting of women in the nineteenth century: the author, who, let us remember, is a man, manages to put himself in the shoes of this anti-heroine that is Jeanne. And he describes his sufferings, these minor daily outrages, with subtlety and clarity.
I don't know what Maupassant's feelings were
Mary Durrant
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Life doesn't always turn out as one would hope.
Wonderful prose , beautifully translated and there was a happy ending after all!
My first foray into Maupassant and won't be my last.
Loved it.
Jeanne grew up in a sheltered life, being the heiress to a fortune and having gone to school at a convent. After finishing school she meets Viscount de Lamare who woos her, weds her and takes her off to Corsica for a spectacular honeymoon. Upon returning from France Jeanne finds her new husband is not quite the man she expected. Her naivety is overwhelming at times, but clearly that is point. We follow Jeanne's life through all of her disillusionment across the years into her senior years. She n ...more
Upon completion of her convent education at the age of seventeen, Jeanne is taken home by her father to start her adult life. Jeanne, wearing metaphorical rose tinted spectacles, is dreaming of a future of romance, a happy marriage and two children - a boy followed not long after by a girl. Jeanne's wealthy parents are providing her with a property of her own. So it seems that she is off to a good start.

But is she? Things don't go entirely to plan, and she soon learns about love and life. It is
Dec 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chrissie by: dely
Available free at Librivox, here: read by the talented Lisa Reichert. She is better than the ordinary Librivox reader!

This is Guy de Maupassant's first novel, written when he was twenty-seven. It is also known as Une Vie and L'Humble Vérité. The author completed only six novels before his death in 1893, at the young age of forty-two. He is better known for his short stories, but I am drawn to his novels. He belonged to the Naturalist school of writing, cle
Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Maupassant and always find he tackles the timeless difficult issues of life, that resonate down through the ages, with masterly and devastating acuity. The ‘life’ we examine is that of Jeanne, a naive young country girl, born into a life of privilege and convent educated, but destined to misfortune and tragedy. Poor Jeanne who is slow to acquire any degree of self knowledge and never really understands the realities of the life with all its brutal contradictions, and so is a ‘victim’ in d ...more
Une Vie
Maupassant (1850 – 1893)
If you were expecting to read the happy story of the life of a beautiful young lady from the age of sixteen to forty-six, you will be seriously disappointed.
Maupassant has worked out in detail everything that could go wrong and will go wrong.
A life of grief, misfortune, and destruction of everything a young person innocently hopes for when leaving the convent where she had her noble and religious education.
Jeanne, cherished and the only daughter of Baron Le Per
May 17, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: only happily married people
Recommended to Tessa by: Jim Marriott
Shelves: fiction, novels
It had good lessons, but it was not an enjoyable or good read at all. My dad gave a nice copy of this book to me for Christmas. Five months later, I finally got around to reading it. It was a terrible, depressing book. Even after I reported most of the horrendous plot, my dad only said, "It's good for her." I would not recommend this book to girls my age. The main character, Jeanne, is surrounded by evil, wanton people. She seems to be the only good person in the whole book, but of course she wa ...more
Feb 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most wonderful books I've ever read in my life. I read it when I was in high school 10 years ago, and it still makes me emotional when I think about it. A must-read! ...more
Aug 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is realism. Reality can be harsh, especially to the unprepared. Our "heroine" Jeanne has spent much of her young life in a convent school, which has shielded her from the coming realities of life as wife, mother, family survivor. Sometimes translators/editors would similarly shield us from the complete contents of a work.

I originally had the misfortune of buying a "complete works" set of Maupassant to discover entire significant passages had been cut out, bowdlerized, to protect us from the
The Book Whisperer (aka Boof)
Who would have thought that such a little book (just 202 pages) could incite so many different emotions (on the part of the reader as well as the characters). One minutes I was swooning over landscape and seascape and melting in Maupassants prose, and the next I was wanting to ring the protagonists neck!

The book starts with a young Jeanne who is on her last ever day at the convent school in 1819 and who is desperate to taste freedom and start her life after being cooped up for so long, only bein
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Apart from one or two cliches, this was a closely observed, sad tale of a woman whose illusions of life are shattered by her cad of a husband. Interesting take on the role of religion in contemporary lives, with two different priests, one more 'live and let live', loved by the community, followed by an evangelical type who spies on illicit trysts and whose congregation dwindles. Maupassant, a brilliant short story writer, was a disciple of Flaubert, and this shows through in this tale of limited ...more
Sue Smith
I was genuinely surprised by this book. Not so much by the content of it, but by the fact that it was written with some insight by a man of the time who perhaps wouldn't have had that insight.

This book is not a happy book. Far from it. It's down right depressing. But it is an interesting peek into what a rural, priviledged woman's life would have been like in the late 1800's, where old ways and status are still influencing life. It also shows us how important it is to have far reaching dreams a
Elizabeth (Alaska)
Jul 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france, 1001-books
Lower 4 stars/upper 3 stars - I'm feeling generous. I did enjoy reading this. Jeanne was so naive and thought married life is like a storybook. It isn't, and her learning so was painful.

She felt vexed with Julien for not understanding her feelings, and wondering at his want of delicacy; it raised a sort of barrier between them, and, for the first time, she understood that two people can never be in perfect sympathy; they may pass through life side by side, seemingly in perfect union, but neither
This book has changed me in a way. I read it when I was 9, and it is one of my favorite books, I can read it again and again, I'll never get tired of it.

Sad story of a young woman who married the wrong man, a man who despises her.
Jan 20, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I still wonder, 10 years later, how I could even finish the book. I hated the main character so much that I'm still angry at this book. ...more
Sep 25, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
The only other work I have read of Maupassant is his short story The Necklace and I was instantly impressed by it. Thus, I bought A Woman's Life with high expectations and well, was left disappointed. What I would say about this novel is that A Woman's Life turned out to be a negative version of Jane Austen's portrayal of society in her novels. And not in a good way, really.

The world of Jeane is compacted to her home after her life in the convent. She is not much social and dreams of being in tr
From BBC Radio 4:
Guy de Maupassant's novel charts the unfortunate life of naive aristocrat Jeanne de Lamare

Book Wormy
For me the central themes appear to be the role of men vs women, money vs position, religion vs morality and the treatment of others.

There were several points throughout the book where I was desperate for Jeanne to wake up and smell the coffee and then you realise even if she does what can she do about anything in her circumstances.

Julian I despised what a horrible man and yes I feel he got what he deserved.

I liked the original Abbe and his way of dealing with his flock, his understanding of how
Aug 27, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A deeply depressing book about a young naive girl who ruined her life just by marrying without thinking about it long enough. How incredibly hard it was for a woman in nineteenth century to be happy! Even if she was noble and rich like Jeanne. I kept hoping for some kind of a hope for her and it came - but what the author undoubtedly thought of as a happy(ish)-end made me even more depressed.
Aug 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well told, interesting, thought provoking short novel, (first published in 1883), about Jeanne, a daughter of a very well off French couple, (a Baron and Baroness). The writing style is very descriptive with many thought provoking sentences. The story starts slowly with detailed descriptions, introducing the main characters and Jeanne’s family property.

We firstly learn that Jeanne has been in a convent where she received five years of education. When she is 17 she leaves the convent to live o
Sep 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this on my Kindle in French and loved it. The beauty lies in the description of the setting in Normandy. Tracked the places on Google Maps.

An elegant prose style in French, in complete contrast with an audio version I found online, read by a woman who massacred the pronunciation, beginning with the protagonist’s name: Jeanne.

A sad and sorry take of a marriage ill-made in the early 19th Century at a time when it was well nigh impossible for a woman to extricate herself. Interestingly I read
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recent-favorites
4 stars (liked a lot)

Such refined and lovely writing!  Jeanne moves from a convent to a chateau in Normandy, gets married, and finds herself acclimatizing to a new life with a husband and family.  The flowing prose with gorgeous descriptions of the French countryside and the delicate sensitivity in expressing the characters were highlights in this story.  As always with modern-day reading eyes, one cannot help but be a little deflated in seeing the lack of equality, and expectations of a woman's
Jesse Kraai
Dec 20, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1880s
This is a terrible book that reaffirms the old cliche that dudes can't write about women. It belongs it that long list. What a shame and a waste.

We don't have many true seducers among the great novelists. Probably because the Third Republic was the last time that you could tell a woman at a dinner party that you were a novelist, do it with a twinkle in your eye, and know you were going to get laid that same night. I want to believe that the seducer knows women well.

Instead what we get is a kind
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Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant was a popular 19th-century French writer. He is one of the fathers of the modern short story. A protege of Flaubert, Maupassant's short stories are characterized by their economy of style and their efficient effortless dénouement. He also wrote six short novels. A number of his stories often denote the futility of war and the innocent civilians who get crushed i ...more

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