Thursday, February 27, 2014

Book Review- The Great Short Stories- Guy de Maupassant

Author: Guy de Maupassant
ISBN-13: 978-81-7992-834-9
Binding: Paperback
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Number of pages: 264
Genre: Fiction
Language: English

Price: Rs.195 (Got a review copy from publishers)

About the book
The collection The Great Short Stories Guy de Maupassant reflects his remarkable diversity, with stories that vary in theme and tone, and range from tragedy and satire to comedy and farce. With a simplicity of style that masks complex philosophy, Maupassant can illuminate an entire code of values by means of a few telling details. He exposes the brutality of war and the hypocrisy it spawns, and depicts the petty limitations, the dissimulations and the vanities inherent at different levels of society. His stories are linked by a trenchant irony and by a preoccupation with the frailty of human nature and the futility of so many lives.

About the Author
Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant was born on August 5, 1850 in a Norman chateau of Miromesnil, northern France. Under Flaubert’s tutelage, the young Maupassant underwent a strict course of training in the craft of literature, at the same time as he was earning his living in the civil service. He was considered insane in 1891 and died two years later, a month short of his 43rd birthday, on July 6, 1893.
Guy de Maupassant penned his own epitaph: “I have coveted everything and taken pleasure in nothing.” He is buried in the Cimetière du Montparnasse, Paris.

Shimanti says
The best remedy to dispel boredom and depression that, more often than not, creep into our befuddled existence is a refreshing short story. The collection of “The Great Short Stories” by Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant  by Jaico Publishing House is a truly delectable possession. Besides containing  some of the choicest stories, the book also includes Maupassant’s  first ever published story Boule de Suif  , which is often considered to be his masterpiece. However, I did come across some typographical errors without which the read would have been an exceedingly pleasant one.
The style of Maupassant is an intricate amalgamation of elegance and naivety. He faithfully brings alive the cultures and predominant colours of his settings. Considered to be the father of modern short story, Maupassant’s compositions form an assorted lot. The anthology commences with the brilliant story of Mademoiselle Pearl where the true identity of the protagonist is revealed through the narration of another principal character whereby the readers are transported to a Romantic world of mystery and passion.

While the stories like Madame Husson’s ‘Rosier’ , The Piece of String and Two Little Soldiers  exhibit tales of unspoken emotions, stifled by the fetters of civilised society, the ones like The Olive Orchard plunge the reader into doleful retrospection and strike a dominant chord. Despite using lucid language, Maupassant manages to charm his readers with his dexterous handling of characters and situations. We, as readers, are never disappointed by the denouement of his stories which are crafted with impeccable sincerity and justness.

Reviewed by Shimanti Mitra for Dreams and Drama :)


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