Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars raimeis, 27 Dec 2013
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This review is from: The Girl with the Golden Eyes (Paperback)
Oh good lord this is car-crash writing. The book begins with a prolonged rant, one that's too po-faced in its earnestness to be enjoyable and packed too full with easy stereotypes to be worth considering. The story following it is summarised in another review, but again, good lord. A powerful secret society, Circassian slaves, a mysterious and of course menacing mulatto, a poisoned duenna, love secrets of the Orient, suddenly-discovered blood ties (hey! you look like me! that can only mean that you're my half-sister!), love that dare not speak its name, premonitions of death, attempted murder, and far too late--given that it signals the book's end--actual murder. The problem isn't simply that these elements are if not in themselves lurid used luridly, but that they are so often irrelevant and unnecessary, seemingly thrown together in a haphazard way: the writing feels as sloppy as it does silly. And the book isn't so bad it's fun, either, simply because it's surprisingly uninteresting; in fact despite its novella length I ended up skimming some of it. It's rubbish, it would have been rubbish in 1835, and that it was written by Balzac doesn't alleviate its rubbishness. In fact, I've tried to think of some aspect that does alleviate it, but if there is one it isn't plot, character, dialogue, diction, incident, organisation, creativity, or acuity.

If read it you must, it's free online. I suppose it might be worth having a look at for its oddness quotient; in fact I'll probably keep my copy because the book is so odd. Well, that taken in conjunction with the fact that my copy has one of those distinctive UK covers from the 70's: A naked woman with hippie hair and Carnaby Street make-up on the front and on the back the titillating blurb typical of those editions: 'The greatest French novelist of all time tells the story a man enslaved by a strange girl who bewitched him, ignited his passion, and then revealed herself as captive to the most grotesque perversion known to human flesh.' Now, *that's* so bad it's fun; indeed, with the addition of an exclamation mark or two it would be probably be the sort of thing that would have won Balzac's approval.

Half a star for strangeness, so 1 1/2 stars.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 31 Dec 2013 23:44:02 GMT
M. Dowden says:
I enjoyed your review, but I really love this story. It reminds me of an old friend who I must admit gets a bit queasy when sapphic love is ever mentioned. : )

Anyway, have a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Posted on 7 Jan 2014 21:31:30 GMT
M. Dowden says:
monica, re not being able to hear the samples of music. I don't really know the reason for it, but you may be able to hear them on soundcloud.com, or you tube. Hope that may help.
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