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    Description

    The Bette referred to in this magnificent novel's title is Lisbeth Fischer, an excruciatingly cunning poor relation who both depends upon and nurses a terrible grudge against the family of her beautiful cousin, Adeline. That family is slowly being ruined by the uncontrollable sexual appetites of Adeline's husband, Baron Hulot - appetites that will, in time, give Cousin Bette opportunity to exact her vengeance.

    Balzac described Cousin Bette as one of his "scenes of Parisian life", and it is certainly that. It offers us a hypnotic vision of that infinitely varied city during the bright, vital, scandalous, and sexually untrammeled era of King Louis-Philippe. The courtesans, swindlers, bankers, artists, murderers, detectives, and saints populating this world pass before us invested with a verve and vividness unsurpassed in the history of the novel.

    (P)1999 Blackstone Audio Inc.

    Ce que les auditeurs disent de Cousin Bette

    Notations

    Commentaires - Veuillez sélectionner les onglets ci-dessous pour changer la provenance des commentaires.

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    • Global
      4 out of 5 stars
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    • Murasaki
    • 03/12/2006

    Narrator!

    This is a delightful, witty, scathingly ironic novel of 18th century Paris. Joanna Ward raises it to even greater heights -- she is simply a wonderful narrator.

    28 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

    • Global
      5 out of 5 stars
    Image de profile pour Adrienne
    • Adrienne
    • 18/03/2007

    Mesmerizing

    This book falls into the category of "can't put it down." I found it to be fascinating and captivating, all of the characters are rich. I found that I had to really listen and pay attention, especially in the beginning, but once I was hooked it was most rewarding. The narrator does an exceptional job. You will think about this story even when you are not listening to it.

    17 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

    • Global
      out of 5 stars
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    • Amazon Customer
    • 25/06/2010

    Great reader

    Johanna Ward is a suberb reader.

    10 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

    • Global
      5 out of 5 stars
    Image de profile pour Angie
    • Angie
    • 25/04/2008

    Excellent

    I loved this book. it was very modern despite being an old book. It actually reminded me alot of Anna Karinena I would recommend his book to any one. The narrator was excellent too.

    7 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

    • Global
      4 out of 5 stars
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    • Gare
    • 13/04/2008

    Pre-code scandlous fun

    A fine example of inspired professional writing. I read this book after it was mentioned in Prose's reading like a writer...and I was not disappointed. The style of writing is while florid, still engaging and accessible. The number of French clich?s is a delight to the student of language, but having a basic command of French and Paris will make the book all the more enjoying. I recommend this book as the audio backdrop for a 2 week vacation in Paris.

    But, I warn the naive or moralistic that this book can be quite shocking...although never pornographic. Rich complex, although often cartoonish character studies.

    Good emotional insights, and many tragic insights on the struggles of the un-attractive vs the favored and the transitory nature of both.

    14 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

    • Global
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Interprétation
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Histoire
      5 out of 5 stars
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    • Kindle Customer
    • 11/01/2015

    Thoroughly enjoyable

    Great story that feels immediate, even though the world has changed. People always want more sex, security and power. Universal.

    3 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

    • Global
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Interprétation
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Histoire
      4 out of 5 stars
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    • Alla
    • 10/09/2012

    Doing justice to Balzac

    Johanna Ward reads this book beautifully! She clearly has excellent control of both French and English and it shows! Thanks!

    3 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

    • Global
      4 out of 5 stars
    • Interprétation
      3 out of 5 stars
    • Histoire
      5 out of 5 stars
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    • Janey
    • 19/12/2011

    Great story!

    Would you listen to Cousin Bette again? Why?

    I did listen twice because I could not keep the characters apart and the reader didn't change her voice enough to help me remember individual characters. After I got past that it was easier to listen to.

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Actually, none of them since none were able to see their own problems let alone do anything about them.

    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    In the beginning it was difficult to keep the characters apart.

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, not possible.

    Any additional comments?

    I was a lot like a modern day soap opera.

    2 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

    • Global
      3 out of 5 stars
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    • Moe
    • 07/01/2010

    A morale tale of greed, envy, and vice.

    I don't know. Though it seems like a good topic roster to listen to, I had trouble staying interested at times. Maybe it was the reading.

    4 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

    • Global
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Interprétation
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Histoire
      5 out of 5 stars
    Image de profile pour Jeremy Mumford
    • Jeremy Mumford
    • 03/08/2021

    Tragedy of the post-Napoleonic sex addict

    This novel has several different dimensions, most of which I could not fully appreciate. A big part of it is detailed social history of France in the first half of the 19th century, with constant references to social classes and occupations, houses, decorative arts, and above all economics: every transaction is accounted for down to the sou. To get the most of this you would have to know a lot more about the era than I do. Another dimension to the novel is Balzac‘s opinions about ethical, political and aesthetic questions, which I found unpersuasive and boring.

    At the bottom of all this, though, is an absolutely insane melodrama of destructive lust. I don’t know if this is a spoiler, but at one point a character has four different men persuaded that the child she is carrying is theirs, apart from her syphilitic and possibly gay husband. In this world the natural lifecycle of a successful man seems to be despoiling his own family to place bonds, securities and real estate in the hands of a 19 year old actress, but even in this context, the Baron Hulot’s addiction to relationships with ever new, much younger women is completely uncontrolled and leads to the fiery destruction of his own fortune and career and the lives of most of those around him.

    It’s a long novel, and for the last half of it I could barely stop listening to do anything else.

    The narrator, Johanna Ward, is really excellent. She’s good with the French names and terms, and lends just the right amount of drama.

    1 personne a trouvé cela utile