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La robe prétexte by François Mauriac
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La robe prétexte (1914)

by François Mauriac

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Granny kissed the top of my head, as she always did when she came to say good-night, and took away the lamp.
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When Mauriac published La Robe Pretexte, his second novel, in 1914, M Pierre Lasserre in L'Action Francaise said of it:
"Il y a des pages fort douces. Une certaine gracilite y convenait. Mais bien des signes me montrent que, sur un sujet qui le demande, l'auteur saura raffermir pleinement son ton et sa voix. La haute discipline de vie qui possede M Mauriac contribue grandement a cette grace; mais d'elle-meme elle la conduira a la forte virilite".
Mauriac has often since depicted the growing up of a young boy, reared in the pious seclusion of Catholic provincial society in France, just as he has so often recreated the long hot days and the stifling nights in the Gironde, and the adolescent's trembling sense of revelation, spiritual or sensual, to come. But this first portrait of the orphaned Jacques, under the eye of his grandmother, surrounded by priests and worthy women, but with his disreputable uncle to dandle the lure of casinos and painted women, and his rebellious little cousin Camille to act on his awakening sensibility, has a touching grace and freshness which even Mauriac himself has never surpassed.
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