Set in the late s and early s, the tale follows a newly married woman who is pregnant—and the baby's father is not her new husband.
Terrified of what will become of herself and the child, she fears for both of their futures. The second part of the tale occurs several decades later.
The Hated Son
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The Hated Son by Honoré de Balzac
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The Hated Son by Honore de Balzac (ebook)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Balzac is said to be the Father of French Realism but this story is among the most melodramatic I have read. Set in the very early 16th century when Henry IV was on the throne and civil war was brewing between the Huguenots in the South and the Catholics in the North, it tells the story of a father's obsession with ensuring the continuation of his bloodline.
It begins on a dark and stormy night which, as we all know, always bodes ill. She had fallen in love with her handsome cousin Chaverny, and had her father's blessing for their courting but alas for young love!
Her father died, Chaverny didn't succeed him into the magistracy, and civil war broke out. And then Cheverny died too adding insult to injury by leaving even more money to the Comte who of course has the right to all of Jeanne's money now. He has warned Jeanne, at a public banquet, that if she has a child before a respectable nine months, he will kill them both. He delivers of her a puny son, christened Etienne.
But much as he would like to, the Comte does not kill Etienne. Jeanne negotiates that Etienne will be brought up away from the chateau and she goes on to have a second child, Maximilien, who is rude, crude, and unattractive just like his father. Etienne goes on to grow up to be a sweet, dreamy and gentle person who is afraid of almost everything which is hardly surprising, given his upbringing. After Jeanne dies he goes to live in a cave, for not very convincing reasons.
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He seeks out Etienne, who agrees to overcome his revulsion on condition that his father grants his every wish. Not posh enough, you see. Well, as you were probably expecting, there's another dark and stormy night as the story reaches its conclusion. Which made me wonder why he didn't marry again quick smart after Jeanne died and then none of his nonsensical plot would have been needed Aug 23, Henry Martin added it Shelves: did-not-finish. Or, perhaps I need a break from Balzac. Who knows. Regardless, I'm setting this aside to be revisited in the future.
There is the Steinbeck story that just caught my eye - The Moon is Down. I might give it a try. Jun 29, Jimmy In added it. Another tragic love story by the master of French Realism. Jun 06, Annie James rated it really liked it Shelves: classics. Is actually 5, save for the ending.
The Hated Son (Dodo Press)
Jul 17, Dagny rated it did not like it Shelves: 19th-century , balzac-honore-de , french. Set in the early s, The Hated Son, recounts the story of the ancestors of the Herouvilles and the Grandlieus. Comtesse Jeanne d'Herouville is in terror while awaiting the birth of her first child. But her terror is not of the childbirth itself, but of the perils that await the baby. I'm not especially fond of historical works and wanted to get back to the 19th Century of the Comedie Humaine.
I am certainly NOT against sentimentality and melodrama, but if ALL modern fiction was like this it would be too much. The ending was a bit over the top, but I thought the characters were richly developed and believable. Some people ARE human scum. Feb 26, Mandy rated it it was ok. Jayne Flenz rated it liked it Jul 25, Sophia rated it it was ok Apr 25, Charles rated it liked it Aug 23, A-Ile Self-hallucination rated it really liked it May 19, Diego Fagundes rated it really liked it Jul 20, Danielle rated it liked it May 10, Elify rated it liked it Jul 06, Roxana rated it did not like it Apr 19, Guy rated it it was ok Oct 19, Mateusz Jaros rated it liked it Jul 25, Wendy Bertsch rated it it was ok May 16, Duygu Apanay rated it it was amazing Feb 25, Masha rated it it was amazing Jan 21, Jesse K rated it really liked it Aug 29, Scott Wilson rated it liked it Jan 09,