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A Murky Business
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Archive: Other Books > A Murky Business by Honore de Balzac - 4 stars

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Elizabeth (Alaska) This is also translated as An Historical Mystery or sometimes even The Gondreville Mystery and is in Balzac's group of Scenes from a Political Life. it is quite different from others I've read of Balzac. There is definitely some mystery here. I had suspicions of the who which somewhat resembled the actual solution, but had in no way guessed the why.

This is an historical novel and some of the characters were real: Napoleon, of course, and his police chief Fouche; Talleyrand makes a brief appearance. When Balzac sprinkles his text with these, he writes as if the primary story was also real. I find no evidence that it was, but I admit to not looking deeply. Gondreville is currently found in three locations in France. but the one in which this story takes place is in the province of Champagne near Troyes.

I think if you were only going to read one Balzac, this should not be it. I did enjoy it, but I like Balzac in general. For me, it sits right on the border between 3 and 4 stars and I'm feeling generous today.


message 2: by Anita (new)

Anita Pomerantz | 6257 comments I don't think I jave read Balzac, so if this one isn't it, which one should it be?


Elizabeth (Alaska) Anita wrote: "I don't think I jave read Balzac, so if this one isn't it, which one should it be?"

My first was Eugénie Grandet and it will always be my favorite. I think most people would recommend Père Goriot. Neither of them are fast-paced.

The one I've read that I think is the most fun was Cousin Bette. My review. (Balzac is full of scoundrels.)


message 4: by Anita (last edited Mar 05, 2016 07:03AM) (new)

Anita Pomerantz | 6257 comments Thanks, Elizabeth!! Adding Eugenie Grandet to my TBR.


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