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The Counterfeiters

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  7,149 ratings  ·  286 reviews
Originally published in 1925, this book became known for the frank sexuality of its contents and its account of middle class French morality. The themes of the book explore the problem of morals, the problem of society and the problems facing writers. An appendix to this edition (Vintage, 1973) contains excerpts from the Gide's notebooks which he kept while writing this ...more
Paperback, 451 pages
Published June 12th 1973 by Vintage (first published 1925)
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Ahmad Sharabiani
Nov 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Les faux-Monnayeurs = The Counterfeiters, André Gide (André Paul Guillaume Gide)
The Counterfeiters, is a 1925 novel by French author André Gide. The Counterfeiters, adorn three parts. Part One: The events in this section take place in Paris, in the author's childhood alleys. Part II: It happens in one of the Swiss villages. Third part: It happens again in Paris; the story time is not more than five months; from the end of spring to the end of the story; and the story takes place before the First
Luís C.
The Counterfeiters is the main novel of the work of the French author André Gide. It tells the story of a multitude of characters, each of which symbolizes the different incarnations of the author, declaims all philosophical theories on the novel and art and human relations and develops them up to convince the reader, just before continuing in another character (taken in a new context generally) an idea that has everything contradictory and which appears to us just as right. In the end the story ...more
The Counterfeiters is a book about writing a book, also called "The Counterfeiters". That is the primary theme of the novel which comes from the title of the book by the writer Edouard. Thus The Counterfeiters is a novel-within-a-novel, with Edouard (the alter ego of Gide) writing a book of the same title. Other stylistic devices are also used, such as an omniscient narrator that sometimes addresses the reader directly, weighs in on the characters' motivations or discusses alternate realities. ...more
Sep 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is subtle metafiction since one of the main characters is a writer and the nature of Gide's The Counterfeiters is intellectual, bohemian, philosophical and of its time - for example, Freudian techniques used on a boy are exposited upon and discussed. It follows various people of a social milieu, from schoolboys to new school-leavers, to their parents and relatives, to an old schoolmaster, and is about their relationships and connections: in that sense, it was soap-like. It is also very ...more
Gregg Bell
Dec 03, 2012 rated it liked it
The Counterfeiters is a book for writers, intellectuals or learners. It's an odd book with crisscrossing themes and story lines. Difficult to follow. (I gave up trying to follow it.) Gide, a winner of the Nobel prize for literature, is an old-time writer, the emphasis being on "writer," rather than "novelist." In those days, there weren't that many writers around and writers often were able to put whatever they wanted in their books.

And Gide put a lot in this book. It's just not much of a story.
Chris Blocker
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: to-read-2013
Steinbeck made me do it.

Years ago, while working on my thesis for my master's degree, I learned everything there was to know about East of Eden. One bit of information I learned was the books that had influenced Steinbeck, particularly in his writing of EoE. There were titles I'd heard of: Moby-Dick and Don Quixote. And there was this: The Counterfeiters. Because I loved all things East of Eden, I made it a point to read these influential books.

Now that I've read The Counterfeiters, I see how it
Jul 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book I couldn't figure out. The feeling I get after reading it was similar to the time I read American Psycho. On the surface, you wonder, what's going on? when is this going to get interesting? And you might leave disappointed. There's something subliminal about the Counterfeiters that is beyond my intelligence to figure out. The characters are meshed together in one book, which seem to act as a pressure cooker. Gide, instead of letting the plot twists and turns let the story flow as the ...more
Sep 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finally finished it and am now going to read the journal the author kept while writing this. I mean it's a very long story about writing stories with a lot of characters and sometimes it feels that the line between what the character's are thinking and the what the author is thinking and what the author is thinking of the actual real novel is thin. Supposedly he let the story flow naturally and yet I have a hard time imagining that he could have done so because there are so many little things ...more
Czarny Pies
May 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Protestants looking for a Christian Catcher in the Rye
The reputation of the Faux-Monnayeurs is that it is an experimental novel that succeeds only where it is conventional. Gide's experimentation comes in the form of a magically real angel, multiple narrative points of view combined with more subplots and characters than would normally be considered prudent in a well-controlled work.

At 19, I liked it because the author maintained a rapid pace and clearly had great affection for his characters. As well the discussion on homosexuality was new to me.
Jan 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Ah, God bless the French! (I wonder if it's the first time anyone has ever written that.)

I happen to love French writers and, thusly prejudiced, found this book by Andre Gide to be exceptional. A fascinating novel of interlocking characters and their crisscrossing story lines that is widely considered a precursor of the nouveau roman.

Relationships of every variety are explored: straight, homosexual, parent/child, bastardy, extra-martial, you name it; a counterfeit coin subplot symbolic of the
Dusty Myers
Sep 03, 2008 rated it it was ok
A novel as much about writing as it is about coded homosexuality in 1920's France (a time, lest we forget, that Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas just about ruled that town). Two rival writers, Edouard and Robert, fall for the same impressionable young boy, Olivier, who decides to run off with Robert, the more famous and less honorable of the two. Edouard, a kind of stand-in for Gide, is Olivier's "uncle" (through marriage), and in the loss of his beloved nephew opts instead of his ...more
Khadijah Qamar
Jul 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: french
Gide's novel has moments of keen psychological penetration and, for that reason alone, deserves veritable accolades. It's especially informative and interesting to be witness to the progress of the novel in the Appendix, which reads as Gide's diary throughout the writing of The Counterfeiters. Like other reviewers have noted, it breaks from the "traditional" novel mold since it is a novel about writing a novel. Gide also challenges novelistic norms at the time by changing perspectives, which he ...more
Oct 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
where pomo got started? Gide weaves a typical tale of upright bourgeoisie actually being quite immoral scumbags, but oh they have the angle, being lawyers, judges, professors, preachers, so get to do the cover-up and all is well. nixon tried that too, it usually doesn't work. greed, lust, envy, bullying, perversions of all kinds tend to bite you in the ass eventually.
here is a quote, author is talking about book reviews (of his old book) and how he has SO moved on from that and hates his old
Kobe Bryant
Oct 26, 2015 rated it liked it
For young middle class French gay people they sure do lead boring lives
Jun 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Literature
Shelves: early-gay-lit
Billed as a frank exploration of same-sex deviance and an exposition of the collapse of morals in 1920’s France, this book is not quite either. It’s a transitional work. Readers wanting a frank look at gay sex are referred to Death on the Installment Plan, where Celine’s two or three shocking vignettes on the subject have never been outdone. And since kids getting away with anything is the grist of modern media, the general state of morality doesn’t especially shock modern readers.

But the
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
"To disturb is my function. The public always prefers to be reassured. There are those whose job this is. There are only too many."

Those words sound like something Andy Warhol might have said (in fact he said something very much like it). Indeed, The Counterfeiters (Les Faux-monnayeurs) is deeply disturbing on many levels, especially when read in today's socio-political climate of Me-Too and Time's-Up, though pederasty was considered wrong long before this. Andre Gide, a public defender of
Feb 20, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An outright coming of age story with the young Bernard Profitendieu as a central figure. There is a broad spectrum of characters in this novel, some of which are clearly good but very uncertain persons (Edward, Laura...), others really bad (Vincent, Georges), and most are just pretending. Edward is struggling to write a novel, and tries to cope with life. The middle part is the best one, the last part rather messy. The theme of the homosexual attraction is clearly present, but always disguised. ...more
Enjoyed this narrative which describes the complicated relationships amongst a group of men, women and teenaged boys. All the characters are linked in some way to each other, six degrees of separation Andre Gide style.
really wish i could follow a certain character's lead and take a gun to my head after finishing this mess
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Gide has a complex plot and proposes a different style for writing a novel compared to most previous novels. Several stories are intertwined, interact at some moments and then some of them are forgot or fade away. Each new moment changes the point of view presented in the previous sequences. As Edouard says when discussing the topic of his novel, it's the fight between the facts proposed by the reality (the novel, in my opinion) and the ideal reality.
Jan 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is the surprising interwoven and sexually obscure tale of young men in Paris around the turn of the twentieth century. It was written in 1925 and is a rated classic for the `book within a book' style.

Uncle Edouard (38) (Gide styled and as a first person journal) is an author in competition with the notorious, fellow author Robert de Passvant. His half-sister Pauline Molinier, married to Oscar, has sons Olivier, Vincent and George (14). The sons are at college with Olivier befriending
Jan 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5/5, because it would feel wrong to give it any less.

I read Les Faux-monnayeurs (translated as The Counterfeiters in English) for school, and I went into it with a pretty pessimistic attitude considering it was a required read and I had to read it in French (I tend to read french books slower). But, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised; not only did my attitude towards it change only a few pages in, but I ended up really loving it.

Les Faux-monnayeurs was the first book I read by Gide. so I
Dec 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps the best French novel. Indispensable!
May 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
“If one could recover the uncompromising spirit of one’s youth, one’s greatest indignation would be for what one has become.”
Erica Castellanos
Nov 25, 2019 rated it liked it
I always feel guilty giving old or foreign books low ratings. Not the least because that's constantly what I throw in my tbr. This book had multiple fine notes, but the overall tune was one I could not find myself enjoying, nor following well. Just too different. I had to drag myself back to this. :-/
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5/5 - an excellent book by a masterful writer.
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-owned
3.5 stars. Gide's The Counterfeiters weaves a complex tapestry of characters and plot-lines centered on the theme of finding one's genuine self. However, we can only do so through the lens of others, all of whom are on the same quest for self-knowledge. To tell his story, Gide uses an alter-ego protagonist, Edouard, who is compiling notes to write a novel called The Counterfeiters, which will include his theories on the novel and the artist's search for true self-expression.

Gide tells his story
Oct 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was sooooo long! but i actually ended up finding it really nice
Drew Pyke
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paul Gaya Ochieng Simeon Juma
I just realised that Andre Gide is not new to me. I have read one book of his before. I think it was the Immoralist. But, this novel 'The Counterfeiters' was far much superior than the immoralist. I liked it and was drowned right from the start.
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André Paul Guillaume Gide was a French author and winner of the Nobel Prize in literature in 1947. Gide's career ranged from its beginnings in the symbolist movement, to the advent of anticolonialism between the two World Wars.

Known for his fiction as well as his autobiographical works, Gide exposes to public view the conflict and eventual reconciliation between the two sides of his personality,
“On ne découvre pas de terre nouvelle sans consentir à perdre de vue, d'abord et longtemps, tout rivage.

(One doesn't discover new lands without consenting to lose sight, for a very long time, of the shore.)”
“I prefer granting with a good grace what I know I shan't be able to prevent.” 11 likes
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