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The Vatican Cellars (Twentieth Century Classics) Paperback – 25 May 1989


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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (25 May 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140180486
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140180480
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.4 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 784,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

André Gide was a giant of twentieth-century French literature. An innovator of the novelistic form, he undertook a life-long exploration of morality in his work, and was a major influence on the writing of Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus. Gide was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1947. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Wasp on 19 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback
The Vatican Cellars by Nobel Prize winner Andre Gide is an odd and somewhat disorientating tale that attempts too many things at once. In essence there are five loosely related chapters that come together for a conclusion that relies far too heavily on coincidence and pseudo philosophy to ever be entirely satisfactory.

The plot (as such) revolves around an erstwhile Catholic (Julius), his sceptic turned believer brother-in-law (Anthime), a step brother (Lafcadio) and a somewhat ridiculous plot about a false pope. Although written in the early twentieth century, the style is much more reminiscent of a late eighteenth-century French romp - characters are introduced at a dizzying rate and discarded almost immediately before re-surfacing much later on to fulfill a tiny plot development. There is a lot of soul wrenching and trepidation in the face of religion and social conformity. Whilst Gide certainly deserves credit for writing in a consistent manner and emulating the epics of a similar nature, the fact is that, at just a shade over 200 pages, this book is not epic enough to let the rhythm settle down and develop into a more enjoyable read. The introduction to my copy stated that the book was "The Da Vinci Code" of its time. Whilst I would rather chop off my own legs than be subjected to another sentence of Dan Brown's bungled prose, he at least allowed his book to breathe and develop at a logical pace.

In short this text is well written but suffers from being neither one thing nor the other. Posted somewhere between the Three Musketeers, The Monk and the aforementioned Tom Hanks vehicle - it is ultimately the schizophrenic offspring of all three - interesting but you don't want to spend too much time with it.

Style: 7/10

Structure: 5/10

Originality: 5/10

Depth: 4/10

Unputdownability: 5/10
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Poldy on 14 Mar. 2006
Format: Paperback
This charming novel is more of a romp than some of Gide’s other work. A group of scammers known as the Millipede dupe some wealthy people into believing that the real Pope has been kidnapped and replaced with a tame substitute, and that a large amount of money is needed to buy his freedom. One man takes this too much to heart, however, and goes in person to try to find out more information. Coincidentally, however, he is pushed out of a train to his death, thus leading the other dupes into believing even more strongly in the conspiracy.
The motive for the murder is the novel’s true philosophical core: Lafadio Wluiki (pronounced Looki) is an indolent, rather philosophical young man, who takes it into his mind to commit the perfect motiveless murder. The repercussions of this, and his feelings about what he has done, allow Gide to address important philosophical questions about morality and social responsibility.
This shouldn’t make it sound as though the book is dry and wordy. Far from it: Gide takes us on a romp around France and Italy, presenting a diverse and rich variety of characters with subtle shadings of character. Rather than just good or bad, black or white, his characters are richly drawn and act from a variety of complex motives.
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Format: Paperback
The Pope has been imprisoned in the cellars of the Vatican. An imposer has been put in his place so that no one realises and the plot is set for The Millipede to do their worst.

Vatican Cellars is a re-print of a novel first published in 1989 although Andre Gide is a well established author long before this time. The tale travels through quite nicely, the language is engrossing and in some parts illustrative enough, in some parts, to have you stood on the sidelines watching things happen. There are a reasonable amount of different characters in the book, but generally you can remember who they are and the part they are playing, however there are one or two who are so "wet" they become extremely irritating.

The book is gentle enough to be read in a couple of days. I wouldnt recommend people to rush out and buy it on its own merits, but as part of a deal it is worth picking up.
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