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Villa des Roses (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics) Paperback – 28 May 1992

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Paperback, 28 May 1992
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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; Reprint edition (28 May 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140184279
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140184273
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.5 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,252,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'Elsschot is full of subtle feeling and his style is highly economical and lucid...a sophisticated, parodic, tender realist of genius' -- Martin Seymour-Smith

'Packed with bizarre incidents and even more bizarre characters…black, certainly, but brilliantly comic as well. A rough-cut gem’ -- Ham and High --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are a few moments that make one shudder, and the extreme heartlessness exhibited towards one of the guests of Villa des Roses, Madame Gendron who is particularly cruelly tormented, although there is some mitigation as she is an inveterate thief. The inhabitants of the Villa are given extensive characterisation, which certainly increases the pleasure of reading. The writing is precise. He does not favour any of the characters with much empathy, but this does not matter at all. At times he is gruesome. As the Introduction notes, “Losers like Louise (a maid) and Marie and the (autobiographically based) affair between Louise and Grünwald, the handsome but heartless German guest is the only treatment of sexual love in Elsschot (not in any way explicit). Nevertheless, we are in no doubt that there was a sexual bond between them.

There are numbered notes in the back of the book for those who need them. My French is nonexistent and so I was not equal to getting through without them, but they do deepen one’s regard for the multilingual complexities. I very much enjoyed this book, except for the “accident” to Chico. It is lively, as well as enlivening, even funny at times. I would certainly read another book by Elsschot. First published in the Netherlands in 1913, it was hailed as a masterpiece of Dutch Naturalist writing. Excellent.
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Format: Paperback
I don't give 5 stars because the writer is from my country Belgium, but just because it's a great book, easy read but so funny and tragical... I'm not a fan of Flemish writers as i like more American and English, but Elsschot is international level, one of my favourite Flemish writer of all times.
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Format: Paperback
This book to me is Elsschot's first masterpiece. It is often hilarious and once you start reading, you cannot put it down. Commemorable scenes and great fun.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of world literature 4 Sept. 2001
By holsbergen - Published on
Format: Paperback
It has taken quite some time before Alfons de Ridder (better known as Willem Elsschot) got his due recognition as a major author even among his own people, the Flemish, and their northern brothers, the Dutch (who share a common language the same way the British and Americans do).
I consider him to be the most important Dutch language author of the 20th century. Quite a few Dutch and Flemish people share this opinion. Even though his work is little known outside the Dutch language area, Elsschot should really be considered as one of the great figures in world literature, on a par with internationally well known authors as Dickens, Victor Hugo, Chekhov or Cervantes. He did not write any long novels, only short stories. His complete works can be gathered in one 800 page volume. But the quality of these little gems....
As almost all of Elsschot's works, Villa des Roses is based on his personal experiences. It describes the life in a Paris boarding house around 1910. Especially touching is the description of the unfortunate love affair between the servant girl Louise and a young German boarding guest. But there are a lot of other interesting plots and characters in this short story of about 100 pages. Elsschot is a master of observation and phlegmatic, economical description. His simple style is extremely powerful.
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a word too many 22 Sept. 2013
By erisgeenhoop - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Elsschot's first novel.A short melodrama set in the Paris of the early 20th century, with most of the action in the pension Villa des Roses, run by the Brulot couple.In brief chapters Elsschot lets us get acquainted with the strange characters who inhabit the pension.Bit by bit we get involved in the petty intrigues of the guests whose small-mindedness leads to inexorable tragi-comedy.
There's a cinematographic adaptation of Villa des Roses (2005), but it's only a feeble shadow of this very enjoyable novel.
Love Villa des Roses, and you will love Cheese, by the same author , even more.
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