Pierre and Jean by Guy de Maupassant

bookshelves: spring-2013, tbr-busting-2013, translation, e-book, gutenberg-project, france, published-1887, shortstory-shortstories-novellas, families, filthy-lucre, re-visit-2014, re-read, summer-2014

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Laura
Read from March 06, 2013 to August 11, 2014, read count: 2

 

Revisit via BBC BABT

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04ccdql

Description: Guy de Maupassant’s compelling short novel, abridged in 4 parts by Penny Leicester, follows family rivalries in the seaport of Le Havre.

1/4. On a fishing trip all is happy with the Roland clan. Then returning home, a revelation..

2/4 The Marechal Will causes ructions between the brothers, then a second revelation surfaces.

3/4 Jean is happy of course, but Pierre burns with rage. So a confrontation is due.

4/4 The two brothers must take action to avoid a family showdown.

Reader Carl Prekopp
Producer Duncan Minshull.

Nutty NUUT read

Translator: Clara Bell

Opening: “Tschah!” exclaimed old Roland suddenly, after he had remained motionless for a quarter of an hour, his eyes fixed on the water, while now and again he very slightly lifted his line sunk in the sea.

Mme. Roland, dozing in the stern by the side of Mme. Rosemilly, who had been invited to join the fishing-party, woke up, and turning her head to look at her husband, said:

“Well, well! Gerome.”

And the old fellow replied in a fury:

“They do not bite at all. I have taken nothing since noon. Only men should ever go fishing. Women always delay the start till it is too late.”

From wiki: It appeared in three instalments in the Nouvelle Revue and then in volume form in 1888, together with the essay “Le Roman” [“The Novel”]. Pierre et Jean is a realist work, notably so by the subjects on which it treats, including knowledge of one’s heredity (whether one is a legitimate son or a bastard), the bourgeoisie, and the problems stemming from money.

Powerful story for it being so short.

#65 TBR Busting 2013

Eugenie Grandet

bookshelves: summer-2014, series, france, fradio, radio-4, published-1833, filthy-lucre, lifestyles-deathstyles, play-dramatisation, suicide, translation, love, lit-richer, cousin-love, families

Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from July 30 to August 05, 2014

 

Classic Serial

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04bmtpk

Description: Rose Tremain’s gripping dramatisation, starring Ian McKellen, of Balzac’s tragic novel revolving around Grandet, an ageing vine farmer, and his innocent young daughter Eugenie.

Monsieur Grandet, who has amassed a considerable fortune, is a miser who feigns poverty and runs his household along miserably frugal lines. All changes with the arrival of Eugenie’s handsome 22-year-old cousin, Charles Grandet, from Paris. Charles has brought with him a shocking letter from his father, Guillaume, who has committed suicide. He has placed his debts and the care of his son into his brother’s hands. It is a fatal decision, with ruinous consequences for the whole family.

Eugenie Grandet is considered by many to be the strongest novel in Balzac’s magnificent series, The Human Comedy. It pits a young naive girl against the father she has worshipped and this defiance sets us on course for the playing out of a heart-rending tragedy. Like King Lear, Grandet is a man who deeply loves the daughter who has defied him. He has no other child, no hope, no future but her. But in Balzac’s ‘human comedy’ the tragic and the comic exist side by side and this fruitful conjunction blossoms in Rose Tremain’s enthralling adaptation.

Cello and Treble Recorder: Alison Baldwin
Original Music: Lucinda Mason Brown
Produced and directed by Gordon House
A Goldhawk Essential production for BBC Radio 4

1/2 Rose Tremain’s gripping dramatisation of Balzac’s novel stars Ian McKellen as Grandet.

2/2 Rose Tremain’s gripping dramatisation of Balzac’s novel stars Ian McKellen as Grandet.

Some lovely images on google piccies:

3* Cousin Bette
3* The Unknown Masterpiece
3* Eugénie Grandet

Cousin Bette by Honoré de Balzac, Johanna Ward (Narrator)

bookshelves: published-1846, france, winter20092010, classic, fraudio, revenge

Read in January, 2010

 

– James Waring, Translator
– Unabridged
– 12 Tapes = 17 Hrs. 30 Mins
– Blackstone Audiobooks
– January 2000

BLURB – “Bette is a wronged soul; and when her passion does break, it is, as Balzac says, sublime and terrifying,” wrote V. S. Pritchett. A late masterpiece in Balzac’s La Comédie Humaine, Cousin Bette is the story of a Vosges peasant who rebels against her scornful upper-class relatives, skillfully turning their selfish obsessions against them. The novel exemplifies what Henry James described as Balzac’s “huge, all-compassing, all-desiring, all-devouring love of reality.”

——

FROM WIKI – French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec depicted lesbian relationships similar to (though more explicit than) that of Bette and Valérie, as in his 1893 painting “In Bed”

Lisbeth Fischer (Cousin Bette) is described as “maigre, brune … les sourcils épais et réunis par un bouquet … quelques verrues dans sa face longue et simiesque” (“lean, brown, with … thick eyebrows joining in a tuft … and some moles on her narrow simian face”)

Death in the City of Light: The Serial Killer of Nazi-Occupied Paris

 

** spoiler alert **

RELEVANT QUOTE – “I am constantly amazed by man’s inhumanity to man.”
― Primo Levi

From wiki – On 11 March 1944, neighbors of a house owned by Marcel André Henri Félix Petiot at 21 rue Le Sueur in Paris, complained to police of a foul stench in the area and of large amounts of smoke billowing from a chimney of the house. Fearing a chimney fire, the police summoned firemen, who entered the house and found a roaring fire in a coal stove in the basement. In the fire, and scattered in the basement, were human remains.

General Information
===============
Narrator…………………..Paul Michael
Abr/Unabr………………..Unabridged
Genre………………………True story of a brutal serial killer
Total Runtime……………13 Hours 54 Mins

BLURBS: Death in the City of Light is the gripping, true story of a brutal serial killer who unleashed his own reign of terror in Nazi-Occupied Paris. As decapitated heads and dismembered body parts surfaced in the Seine, Commissaire Georges-Victor Massu, head of the Brigade Criminelle, was tasked with tracking down the elusive murderer in a twilight world of Gestapo, gangsters, resistance fighters, pimps, prostitutes, spies, and other shadowy figures of the Parisian underworld.

The main suspect was Dr. Marcel Petiot, a handsome, charming physician with remarkable charisma. He was the “People’s Doctor,” known for his many acts of kindness and generosity, not least in providing free medical care for the poor. Petiot, however, would soon be charged with twenty-seven murders, though authorities suspected the total was considerably higher, perhaps even as many as 150.

Who was being slaughtered, and why? Was Petiot a sexual sadist, as the press suggested, killing for thrills? Was he allied with the Gestapo, or, on the contrary, the French Resistance? Or did he work for no one other than himself? Trying to solve the many mysteries of the case, Massu would unravel a plot of unspeakable deviousness.
When Petiot was finally arrested, the French police hoped for answers.

But the trial soon became a circus. Attempting to try all twenty-seven cases at once, the prosecution stumbled in its marathon cross-examinations, and Petiot, enjoying the spotlight, responded with astonishing ease. His attorney, René Floriot, a rising star in the world of criminal defense, also effectively, if aggressively, countered the charges. Soon, despite a team of prosecuting attorneys, dozens of witnesses, and over one ton of evidence, Petiot’s brilliance and wit threatened to win the day.

Drawing extensively on many new sources, including the massive, classified French police file on Dr. Petiot, Death in the City of Light is a brilliant evocation of Nazi-Occupied Paris and a harrowing exploration of murder, betrayal, and evil of staggering proportions.

This book should have come face to face with an active editor to whittle it down to ten hours max. Georges Simenon, Sartre, Camus, Fleming, Picasso and de Beauvoir’s lives overlap with this grisly tale.

The Lily and The Lion

bookshelves: published-1959, spring-2014, historical-fiction, france, film-only, medieval5c-16c, medical-eew

Read on May 04, 2014

 

Description from Netflix: This is the series that inspired George R.R. Martin to write A Game of Thrones. Translated from the orginal French.

“This is historical fiction based on, and starting with, the final years of the 14th century Philip The Fair of France. He is famous to this day for crushing the rich and powerful Knights Templars in a well-coordinated attack on Friday 13 1307 (this is why we consider Friday 13th to be ill-omened and unlucky). By brutally murdering the Knights Templars, Phillip The Fair gained both their considerable power and enormous wealth. As the Grand Master of the Knights Templars, Jacques de Molay, was burnt to death, he cursed the king and his future generations:

“Accursed! Accursed! You shall be accursed to the thirteenth generation!”

Thus providing the title for this series of books: The Accursed Kings.” – Imperator11

The novels take place during the reigns of the last five Direct Capetian kings and the first two Valois kings, from Philip the Fair to John II. The plot revolves around the attempts of Robert of Artois to reclaim the county of Artois from his aunt Mahaut.

Prologue, The Iron King:

AT the beginning of the fourteenth century, Philip IV, a king of legendary personal beauty, reigned over France as absolute master. He had defeated the warrior pride of the great barons, the rebellious Flemings, the English in Aquitaine, and even the Papacy which he had proceeded to install at Avignon. Parliaments obeyed his orders and councils were in his pay.He had three adult sons to ensure his line.

His daughter was married to King Edward II of England. He numbered six other kings among his vassals, and the web of his alliances extended as far as Russia.He left no source of wealth untapped. He had in turn taxed the riches of the Church, despoiled the Jews, and made extortionate demands from the community of Lombard bankers. To meet the needs of the Treasury he debased the coinage. From day to day the gold piece weighed less and was worth more. Taxes were crushing: the police multiplied. Economic crises led to ruin and famine which, in turn, caused uprisings which were bloodily put down. Rioting ended upon the forks of the gibbet.

Everyone must accept the royal authority and obey it or be broken by it. This, cruel and dispassionate prince was concerned with the ideal of the nation. Under his reign France was great and the French wretched. One power alone had dared stand up to him: the Sovereign Order of the Knights Templar. This huge organisation, at once military, religious and commercial, had acquired its fame and its wealth from the Crusades. Philip the Fair was concerned at the Templars’ independence, while their immense wealth excited his greed. He brought against them the greatest prosecution in recorded history, since there were nearly fifteen thousand accused. It lasted seven years, and during its course every possible infamy was committed.

What is that Chinese curse again? Something like ‘I hope you live in interesting times’. Well these times were remarkably interesting.

Sad to be at the end of this wonderful series even if some of the women rode astride and the sets looked as if they came from an early TV sci-fi series that sold off the props at bargain basement prices.

Robert d’Artois

Edward III

4* The Iron King
4* The Strangled Queen
4* The Poisoned Crown
5* The She-Wolf of France
5* The Lily and the Lion

The She-Wolf of France by Maurice Druon

bookshelves: spring-2014, film-only, france, historical-fiction, medieval5c-16c, published-1959, series, poison, families

Read on May 03, 2014

 

Description: “This is the original Game of Thrones.” George R.R. Martin.

Charles IV is now king of France and his sister is Edward II of England’s Queen. Having been imprisoned by Edward as leader of the rebellious English barons, Roger Mortimer escapes to France, where he joins the war against the English Aquitaine. But it is his love affair with Isabella, the ‘She-Wolf of France’, who has come seemingly to negotiate a treaty of peace that seals his fate…

4* The Iron King
4* The Strangled Queen
4* The Poisoned Crown
CR The She-Wolf of France
TR The Lily and the Lion

The Poisoned Crown by Maurice Druon

bookshelves: spring-2014, historical-fiction, film-only, published-1956, france, medieval5c-16c

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Susanna – Censored by GoodReads


Film the third.

Description: ‘This was the original game of thrones’ George R.R. Martin

No man is impervious to the poisons of the crown… Having murdered his wife and exiled his mistress, King Louis X of France becomes besotted with Princess Clemence of Hungary and makes her his new Queen. However, though the matter of the succession should be assured, it is far from so, as Louis embarks on an ill-fated war against Flanders.

Where his father, Philip IV, was strong, Louis is weak, and the ambitions of his proud, profligate barons threaten his power and the future of a kingdom once ruled by an Iron King.

Princess Clemence of Hungary.

Gibbet of Montfaucon

War against Flanders

John I (15 November 1316 – 20 November 1316), called the Posthumous, was a Capetian King of France and Navarre, and Count of Champagne, as the posthumous son and successor of Louis the Quarreler, for the five days he lived. He thus had the shortest undisputed recognized reign of any French king.[1] The son of Louis the Quarreler and Clementia of Hungary, sister of Charles I of Hungary, he is the only person to be King of France since birth, and thus, the youngest King of France.

4* The Iron King
4* The Strangled Queen
4* The Poisoned Crown
TR The She-Wolf of France
TR The Lily and the Lion

Forbush and the Penguins

bookshelves: one-penny-wonder, antarctica, published-1965, zoology, under-20, sciences, shortstory-shortstories-novellas, debut

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Charles
Read from April 16 to 24, 2014

 

Description: ‘Forbush and the Penguins’ is the story of a young man on a solitary mission in Antarctica who finds the challenge of being “the only man in the world” as enriching as it is terrifying.

The main man is hunting down the film whilst I hunt for book bargains. Thanks Charles, this definitely looks right up my alley/down my street.

HUZZAH – found a ‘v. good condition’ one-penny-wonder

Dedication: FOR LYNDSEY

Opening: When the helicopter had gone and its sound was no more than a minute concussion of the air on the eardrums Forbush stood in the centre of the ring of stones to look up at the smoking mountain, Erebus, and ask for a safe conduct through the summer. In return he pledged truthfulness, the will to try.

The pages are sepia coloured but clean and barely opened, so my guess is that this has stood on a shelf since 1965.

Shackleton’s motor car

Mount Erebus

The Adélie Penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) is a species of penguin common along the entire Antarctic coast, which is their only residence.

Hayley Mills with John Hurt, set before the antarctic journey

“Mr Forbush and the Penguins”

The Morepork (Ninox novaeseelandiae), also called the Tasmanian spotted owl, is a small brown owl found throughout New Zealand, Tasmania, across most of mainland Australia and in Timor, southern New Guinea and nearby islands. This bird is the smallest owl in Australia and is the continent’s most widely distributed and common owl.

The bird has almost 20 alternative common names, most of which – including mopoke, morepork, ruru and boobook itself – are onomatopoeic, as they emulate the bird’s distinctive two-pitched call.

MacCormick’s Skua

sea leopard

seal

The Count of Monte Cristo

bookshelves: re-visit-2014, re-read, revenge, epic-proportions, betrayal, published-1844, france, seven-seas, pirates-smugglers-wreckers, treasure, napoleonic, spring-2014

Read from January 01, 1986 to April 23, 2014, read count: 2

 

I promised myself a re-acquaintance with this epic back when I was reading The Black Count, so this re-visit comes via the 2002 film, with Jim Caviezel in the lead rôle. Look at the stats for the book:

4.13* · 409,590 ratings · 10,981 reviews

Chateau d’If

The Count of Monte Cristo – Finding The Treasure

The Count of Monte Cristo – The Ball

Magnificant film with a distorted ending. All I want to do now is re-read the book from top to toe.

Young Henry of Navarre

bookshelves: published-1935, spring-2014, lifestyles-deathstyles, historical-fiction, biography, france, under-500-ratings, film-only, ipad, casual-violence, earlymodern16c-18c, epic-proportions, classic, families, gorefest, gulp, love, mental-health, military-maneuvers, newtome-author, ouch, poison, protestant, recreational-homicide, religion, revenge, roman-catholic, swashbuckler, too-sexy-for-maiden-aunts, tragedy, true-grime, war

Read from April 08 to 09, 2014


Description: Young Henry of Navarre traces the life of Henry IV from the King’s idyllic childhood in the mountain villages of the Pyrenees to his ascendance to the throne of France. Heinrich Mann’s most acclaimed work is a spectacular epic that recounts the wars, political machinations, rival religious sects, and backstage plots that marked the birth of the French Republic.

French Language, English sub-titles
Stars: Julien Boisselier, Joachim Król, Andreas Schmidt

[

Michel de Nostredame (depending on the source, 14 or 21 December 1503 – 2 July 1566), usually Latinised as Nostradamus.

Henry I, Prince of Joinville, Duke of Guise, Count of Eu (31 December 1550 – 23 December 1588), sometimes called Le Balafré (Scarface). In 1576 he founded the Catholic League to prevent the heir, King Henry of Navarre, head of the Huguenot movement, from succeeding to the French throne. A powerful opponent of the Queen Mother, Catherine de’ Medici, he was assassinated by the bodyguards of her son, King Henry III. (wiki sourced)

St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre began the night of 23-24 August 1572. Painting by François Dubois

Gabrielle d’Estrées et une de ses sœurs by an unknown artist (c.1594). Gabrielle sits up nude in a bath, holding (presumably) Henry’s coronation ring, whilst her sister sits nude beside her and pinches her right nipple. Henry gave Gabrielle the ring as a token of his love shortly before she died.

Assassination of Henry IV by Gaspar Bouttats


Reign 2 August 1589 – 14 May 1610
Coronation 27 February 1594
Predecessor Henry III
Successor Louis XIII
(wiki source) (hide spoiler)]

Terrific film based on H Mann’s biography of Navarre. Epically disturbing, fearsome and ghastly were those fanatical, religious times – so much blood spilt.

Highly recommended but there are some truly gruesome moments.