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1001 book reviews > Bel-Ami - de Maupassant

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Kristel (kristelh) | 3821 comments Mod
read 2015, Bel Ami (good friend), what a man. At first we see him, he is walking the streets with barely the money to eat more than one meal a day and quench his thirst. He meets a friend from his military days and George is off. This man rises by using people. I read a review of another reader that compares Flaubert's Madame Bovary to de Mauppassant's George Duroy. This was an easy read and I enjoyed it a lot but this is not a likable character. He uses women, he plots and schemes, he takes money that is not his and he succeeds. This pretty much sums George Du Roy up; "You deceive everyone; you take advantage of everyone; you filch money and enjoyment wherever you can, and you want me to treat you as an honest man!".

Amanda Dawn | 895 comments I listened to this one on audio recently, and it reminded me a lot of The Red and Black by Stendhal (although without the tragic ending).

Like Kristel, I was entertained by George's social climbing/plotting, but the book didn't resonate with me on a deeper more profound emotional or intellectual angle. I was also left wondering what the intent from the author was, perhaps wasn't listening close enough to make it clear, but I felt it was ambiguous on whether he was getting across that society really does cater to the scheming (not really condemned or condoned in the book imo), or whether he was trying to make a commentary on those who are social climbers, or a society that enables cons, or both.

Considering the moral character of many "self made" current billionaires, I suppose it is rather true to life that George never gets his comeuppance.

Diane | 1918 comments Rating: 4 stars

I really enjoyed this story about an unapologetic social-climber in 19th century Paris. I love de Maupassant, and this is one of my favorites by him. I did expect him to get his comeuppance, as Amanda mentioned, but that didn't happen.

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