Tuesday, January 24, 2017
21 of 1001 Books: Guy de Maupassant's Bel Ami
Summary: Georges Duroy has been in the military in Algeria, and now is back in France after his deployment. Starting out as a poor ex-military, he's looking to garner power and money in the society. He meets with a former comrade, Forestier, who helps him become a journalist for minor news. Madeleine, helps Duroy with his articles. She is also Forestier's wife. They grow closer as he advances as the paper, until he is advanced to chief editor. Even though he has grown close to her, he also has several other women he is interested in, and Duroy isn't looking for any single commitment.
Back to the story though. The story takes place in France, and for me this added to the intrigue, especially since the culture there, especially in the late 1800s, seems drastically different than American culture and standards. The book was written in 1885 and set in Paris. There are lots of affairs and sex. Not only that, but the novel sets deeper motives than love and lust for the advances.
The story is provocative, and there is something alluring about the characters in the story. Even though they are unlikable, they don't ever seem to be intended to make us like them. Instead of just feels like the lower bottom of the branch of humanity has been brought up in this story to show how far people will and go betray others for what they want.
Don't worry though, you won't walk away from this story as depressed as it seems, but it will be on your mind still. It's one of the better classics, particularly from before the 1900s I've read, so I take that as a positive and a hope for future readings from this era.