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The Counterfeiters (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 26 Jul 1990

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (26 July 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140180931
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140180930
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.1 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 334,888 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This was the only book written by Gide which the man himself classed as a novel. The story centres around diarist and aspiring novelist Edouard and his interest in two boys, Bernard and Olivier. This is not mere innuendo... It has been described as a love story and an adventure story, but Gide's work defies simple categorisation. He deals with several themes from religion to identity to sexuality and one is left wondering whether there is any kind of lesson to be learned at all. Bernard is a bastard child, a status strangely regarded as privileged by Edouard who develops an attachment to this boy and follows his progress as a budding journalist and schoolboy. There is a big shock at the end and the mysterious counterfeiters of the title remain menacingly in the background. Few writers demand to be read and re-read quite as much as Gide, who sews a rich fabric of the fictional elements necessary for a challenging and intellectual reading experience.
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Format: Paperback
This is the surprising interwoven and sexually obscure tale of young men in Paris around the turn of the twentieth century. It was written in 1925 and is a rated classic for the `book within a book' style.

Uncle Edouard (38) (Gide styled and as a first person journal) is an author in competition with the notorious, fellow author Robert de Passvant. His half-sister Pauline Molinier, married to Oscar, has sons Olivier, Vincent and George (14). The sons are at college with Olivier befriending Bernard Profitendieu, who has learnt that he's a bastard and left home. Vincent has got Laura Videl, married to professor Felix, pregnant but equally Lilian Griffith conspires with Robert to win Vincent. Robert and Edouard are each seemingly using their friendships, planning literary journals needing editors and their foreign travels to get close to the young men. The young men become in-love and jealous. There are many non-graphic but literary scenes suggesting or otherwise of guys sharing beds and time together in ambiguous and not so ambiguous gay/bisexual ways. There are many back stories based around the Laura's sibling Armand, Rachael and Sarah; the ex-college teachers of Edouard, the Azais. Middleclass parents have to deal (badly) with the issues including counterfeiting and a young man run brothel club.

This is a mix of Middlemarch, Gissing's Nether World and Murger's Bohemians of the Latin Quarter but heavy on the sexually ambivalent. It's quite existential actually.
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