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Pierre et Jean (Oxford World's Classics) by…

Pierre et Jean (Oxford World's Classics) (original 1887; edition 2009)

by Guy de Maupassant

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Title:Pierre et Jean (Oxford World's Classics)
Authors:Guy de Maupassant
Info:Oxford University Press, USA (2009), Edition: 1, Paperback, 208 pages

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Pierre and Jean by Guy de Maupassant (1887)

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Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
304 books ago, I reviewed Bel Ami, my first Maupassant novel and, coincidentally, the one he wrote just before this one. Thankfully, although it still deals with the worst of our fallen nature, at least you have some sympathy and understanding for the characters involved. With Bel Ami, I just wanted to punch the protagonist in the face.

Pierre and Jean are brothers, young men on their verge of finding their ways in the world. The underlying frictions caused by their very different natures rupture when one of them becomes the sole beneficiary of the heavily-laden will of a fairly obscure old friend.

It’s not just the brothers who have a hard time interpreting this injustice; the event also threatens to destroy the entire family as various skeletons are let loose from their closets to redefine relationships in unexpected ways.

Maupassant can definitely write and he does a very good job in what is a very short novel of constructing the characters with enough substance that the realism comes across quite forcefully. You find yourself siding with pretty much everyone except the father and that’s only because he seems too reflective to grasp what’s really happening.

In writing this way, Maupassant cleverly engages your sympathies and challenges you to evaluate your response to the moral dilemma which subsequently confronts you when the truth is revealed. That’s clever and, at the time it was written, would have created far more impact than in our much more liberal days. It’s a great example of what the novel is for: a portal to see our very own selves. ( )
1 vote arukiyomi | Dec 17, 2016 |
Pierre and Jean is a well-written and interesting novella which explores issues such as sibling jealousy, mother-son love(with some Oedipal qualities), family dysfunction, unhappy marriage, infidelity resulting in illegitimacy, the bourgeoisie and problems stemming from money and life and social mores especially for women in France in the 1800s. It's a simple, mostly character driven novel but there is a focus on psychological exploration and it is thought-provoking and packs a big punch for such a short novel. A classic piece of literature by a renowned French author. ( )
  seekingbooks3 | Aug 12, 2016 |
Pierre and Jean are brothers who have just finished their degrees in medicine and law when they receive the news that a family friend has died and made Jean the sole heir of a decent sum of money. Pierre contains his jealously relatively successfully, but he is not able to contain his feelings when others suggest that there must have been a reason one brother was favored over the other. Pierre notices that there is a strong physical resemblance between Jean and his benefactor while the brothers look nothing alike. Pierre’s suspicions of his mother’s infidelity weigh so heavily on his mind that he is unable to think of anything else until he confronts her and Jean.

I really liked this novel. The pace moved nicely, and the story was compelling. I hadn’t read Maupassant before, and now I’m looking forward to reading more of his work. ( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
A sibling rivalry between two brothers gets worse when one is named sole heir in a will by a family friend. The novel explores jealousy, 19th century honor, and buried family secrets. There are moments of brilliance, such as the group’s outing to the beach to hunt for shrimp, but I think Maupassant would have been more successful if he had further tightened up this novel into a short story.

Just this quote, on love lost:
“Ah, remorse! remorse! It must have tortured her long ago in the early days, then faded as everything does. She would certainly have wept for her misdeeds and then she had gradually forgotten. Have not all women, every one of them, this gift of prodigious forgetfulness which enables them scarcely to recognize after a few years the man to whom they have given their lips and their whole body to kiss? The kiss strikes like lightning, love pass over like a storm, then life clears again like the sky and goes back to where it was before. Does anyone remember a cloud?” ( )
1 vote gbill | Aug 9, 2015 |
The constellation of two half-brothers from two fathers, differently aged, one with a big inheritance, the other with nothing, both falling in love with the same girl, ever fascinated me. Peter and John came to me in the romantic stage of adolescence. I was a bit disappointed, that the girl decides upon the rich boy, and that the poor fellow without a whimper comes second place. Before he run away to sea he should have given his brother at the very least a good smacking.
  hbergander | Feb 10, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140443584, Paperback)

The fraternal love that Pierre Roland feels for his younger brother Jean has always been tinged with jealousy. But when a lawyer arrives at the house of their parents, to declare that an old family friend has bequeathed his entire fortune to Jean, this envy rapidly becomes an all-consuming force. Despising himself for the hate that he feels, Pierre roams the seaport of Le Havre alone, desperate to come to terms with his brother's success. As he walks through the streets, however, one thought dominates his mind. Why was he not left a share of the friend's estate? Vivid, ironical and emotionally profound, "Pierre and Jean" is considered Maupassant's greatest novel - an intensely personal story of suspicion, jealousy and family love.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:28 -0400)

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"Pierre et Jean marked a turning-point in the development of French fiction, situated as it is between traditional social realism and the psychological novel. It is recognized as a classic study of filial jealousy, triggered by one of the two brothers of its title finding himself the sole inheritor of the fortune of his mother's former lover." "Pierre et Jean is set in Le Havre in the 1880s and is notable for its evocation of the Normandy coastline captured by the Impressionists. But Maupassant's achievement is to have woven from this simple plot in a maritime context a brilliantly crafted exploration of the complexities at the heart of family life."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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