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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maison Vauquer
This is probably Balzac's most popular book in this country, and possibly the one that I have read the most times, indeed it could be argued that if he only had ever written this he would still be known today. This is the Ellen Marriage translation, who I think translated more or less all of the Human Comedy at one time or another. There are very few typos here, but in...
Published on 19 April 2012 by M. Dowden

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars The social ladder of Paris reveals many snakes
Parisian society and all its pomp is the vehicle for Balzac's study of fatherly love. A retired, wealthy trader, Goriot is the butt of jokes at Madame Vanquer's down-at-heel boarding house, deep in the Latin Quarter. But one of the new residents sees past the facade of aged ignorance.

Eugene Rastignac has been sent to study law on dowry of his family, who are...
Published 12 months ago by Mr N D Willis


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maison Vauquer, 19 April 2012
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Father Goriot (Kindle Edition)
This is probably Balzac's most popular book in this country, and possibly the one that I have read the most times, indeed it could be argued that if he only had ever written this he would still be known today. This is the Ellen Marriage translation, who I think translated more or less all of the Human Comedy at one time or another. There are very few typos here, but in places the text could have done with cleaning up, as in some of the places a sentence will start on the next line, instead of just continuing. A small fault when you consider it doesn't cost you anything.

In this book you also see characters that appear in other books in 'La Comedie Humaine'. It is 1819 and Rastignac is residing in the lodging house of Mme Vauquer. Although supposedly respectable, this house is for those low on their luck, as it is very shabby. Whilst there he comes into contact with Vautrin, M Goriot, and other tenants of the building, as well as other characters, as he tries to make his way in society. Rastignac ultimately is in Paris to study for the Bar but he becomes interested in the higher echelons of society and tries to become one of these people. The main plot centres around the Lear-esque Goriot and his two daughters, but it also takes in more than this, showing the vanity and corruption of society, as well as what it takes to get on.

Always worth reading, you are soon pulled into this tale and your attention is held, you almost feel that you are at the Maison Vauquer yourself, and other places in Paris, as this unwinds. I don't really know how popular Balzac is at the moment in this country, but if you have never read anything by him before, then perhaps now is the time to try. This novel is a good introduction to 'La Comedie Humaine' and hopefully you will enjoy it. You will also see why Balzac was hugely influential on authors that came after him, and these weren't just French.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ., 12 April 2013
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Who wouldn't be delighted to find the public domain list of FREE classic literature. This is fantastic. All the titles I've always wanted to read and for free - this is my kind of kindle heaven. I love the way they arrive on your kindle, they're so quick, it's like magic. Thank you public domain!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction to Balzac, 26 April 2013
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A good introduction to Balzac. Encapsulates many of his stories in one book. A lighter first read if you want to try this author.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 12 July 2014
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Good
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4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable read of days gone by, 14 Mar 2014
By 
Wiz "Wiz" (Apperley Bridge, UK) - See all my reviews
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Slow moving and full of characters that retain your interest about a lost way of life but with deep and profound observations which apply to life in any time
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5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite French author, 7 July 2013
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This is my favourite French author. I buy all his books. Bought it as e-book for my ipad. x x
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3.0 out of 5 stars The social ladder of Paris reveals many snakes, 4 July 2013
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Parisian society and all its pomp is the vehicle for Balzac's study of fatherly love. A retired, wealthy trader, Goriot is the butt of jokes at Madame Vanquer's down-at-heel boarding house, deep in the Latin Quarter. But one of the new residents sees past the facade of aged ignorance.

Eugene Rastignac has been sent to study law on dowry of his family, who are simple farmers in the south. Originally driven by a need to study and make good for his family, Eugene, with the offer of some dubious assistance from mysterious fellow boarder Vautraine, sets his sights higher in society with the help of his once distinguished name. A journey through marriages of convenience, jewels, dresses, balls, debt and cold-heartedness strip away the sumptuous veneer of high society Paris.

Balzac's use of florid language suits the cluttered, gaudy salons and overcomplicated social etiquette of his subjects. Rastignac's journey takes him from an outsider in Parisian society, eager to use his once-grand family name to get on, to a player in the most prominent social clique. Yet he is abhorred by the grubby nature of these upper echelons, of which Balzac's descriptions are fascinating.

The characters in Father Goriot are many layered and often many faced, which adds a real depth to the book. The themes of debt and society make an excellent study of the more decorated end of France. In fact, in some ways the book is to the salons of Paris what Les Miserables is to the backstreets. And if you enjoyed Les Miserables then you will probably find Father Goriot similarly grips your imagination.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Father Goriot, 24 Jun 2013
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Superb plot, well written, Balzac is truly a forgotten master. You can't go wrong with stuff like this available for free to your Kindle.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging and thought provoking, 17 Mar 2013
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I picked up this book after I'd given up with Swann's Way, and I found it much more entertaining. It was my introduction to Balzac, and I wasn't disappointed. It lived up to all I'd heard about his social awareness, characters, and rich descriptions.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A father's torment and end of youth, 16 Feb 2013
By 
Ian Hobbs (UK) - See all my reviews
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A young, poor student in C19 Paris seeks his fortune amongst society - making his way on money scraped together by his family. Living in a poor boarding house he comes to know the elderly man Goriot. Father of two daughters to whom he has sacrificed all his wealth to secure good marriages, Cypriots health fades amidst abject poverty. His daughters, now in loveless marriages continue to drain him of every sou until he dies a pauper. Eugene, in love with one of them loses his own small fortune and comes to learn of the selfishness, shallowness and hypocrisy of Society. As Goriot dies, with neither daughter at his side until he is beyond consciousness and too late to offer him any comfort, Eugene arranges a pauper burial and looks to the future, no longer a youth.

A beautifully written story of devotion, repaid by selfishness, of love and hope, tarnished by experience, yet goodness prevailing among those with least to give financially. Balzac captures the period with piercing clarity.
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Father Goriot by Honoré de Balzac
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