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Pierre et Jean
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1001 book reviews > Pierre and Jean - de Maupassant

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message 1: by Kristel (last edited Dec 10, 2018 12:18PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kristel (kristelh) | 3875 comments Mod
This story (Pierre et Jean) is set in the Normandy coast land and features a look at the family of brothers Pierre and Jean. Pierre is the older brother and is 30 described as dark, doesn't know what he wants and has started one career after another and currently is now a doctor but he has not established a career yet. He is ill tempered but very fond of his mother. He also is fond of knowledge and intelligence. Jean is 25 year old and fair haired and calm. He is a lawyer and has not launched his career either. Mother is Louise and she is married to Gerome Roland and former jeweler who is a sailor wanta be. Roland is impervious to everything and admires nothing more than leisure. In addition, there is the widow Miss Rosemilly, 23 y/o woman who is described as strong and agile with a wealth of her own. She is also described as a hunter and certainly is better at hunting prawns that Jean.

The older brother has always been jealous of his younger brother but this is exasperated when Jean becomes the sole heir to a family friend's estate. This is a story of jealousy and the harm that can come from family secrets and jealousies.

A couple of quotes that I liked;
"I'm taking lessons, learning how a man prepares himself to be a cuckold." and
"How ugly life is! If for once you find a little sweetness in it you are wicked to enjoy it and pay very heavily for it later.

I really enjoyed the descriptions of the Normandy coastline, the homeland of the author

Rating 3.67 probably higher.


Valerie Brown | 527 comments read Oct. 2019

This is my first Guy de Maupassant novel. I knew nothing about his style, so was a little hesitant. However, I particularly appreciate his writing and am looking forward to reading more of his work. He writes in a ‘naturalistic’ way and I think Wikipedia sums it up nicely with this quote “his stories are characterized by economy of style and efficient, effortless dénouements”. I find it very interesting that he was producing work like this while, in England, Henry James was using every word he could think of to express one tiny idea!

This novel is about a short period of time in a family’s life when an unexpected event causes a complete change (and rift) in the family dynamic. Even though the novel is short you feel like you get to know the characters reasonably well. The situation seems to be a little melodramatic (although de Maupassant never gets carried away with that), but it is one that anyone can see would have unimagined consequences. I found Pierre to be very self-absorbed and small minded; although really both brothers (Pierre and Jean) were spoiled and entitled. As I was reading I really couldn’t imagine how de Maupassant was going to wrap up his story, but when we got there it was the most appropriate ending. 4*


Book Wormy | 1829 comments Mod
4 Stars

I really enjoyed this a lot more than I expect to.

What I found interesting was the viewpoint of the society of the time, when I read about Jean's windfall I thought nothing of it but then as we watch Pierre be influenced by the opinions of society what I missed did seem obvious. In fact Maupassant did spell it out for the astute reader (not me) from the start. Those with a suspicious nature will probably look at the opening and know immediately what will follow.

I also found the family dynamic intriguing I loved how the brothers reacted differently and how they finally managed to resolve the issue between them. At the end of the book my sympathy was with Pierre yes he caused the situation himself but he was oh so human.


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