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Coup de Grâce by Marguerite Yourcenar

Coup de Grâce (original 1939; edition 1957)

by Marguerite Yourcenar

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336932,756 (3.58)8
Title:Coup de Grâce
Authors:Marguerite Yourcenar
Info:New York, Farrar, Straus and Cudahy [1957]
Collections:Your library

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Coup de Grâce by Marguerite Yourcenar (1939)


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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
I found this book very disappointing. I expected a story about the post-WWI chaos in what is now Latvia, and all I got was a rather convoluted love story that dominated the entire book. In effect, there are only two characters, and neither of them is very well developed in the course of the book. ( )
  oparaxenos | Nov 27, 2015 |
This short novel by Marguerite Yourcenar is a first-person narrative is constructed like a classical tragedy; thus it is severely limited in time, place, and action. Erick von Lhomond, an elegant soldier of fortune approaching forty as the story begins, recalls an episode connected with his youth. Though the story begins in Italy as Erick is waiting to return to Germany after having been wounded at Zaragoza (presumably in the Spanish Civil War), the entire focus of his story remains on his experience in the Baltic regions of Livonia and Kurland as the Bolshevik army approaches Kratovitsy, the estate of his cousin and boyhood friend, Conrad de Reval. Erick briefly recounts his first visit to Kratovitsy. He is innocent in every sense of the word, little more than a boy, and the place seems an Edenic paradise while he and Conrad become close friends. Sophie, on the other hand, is nothing more than a distraction.

In the wake of the Russian Revolution, Erick returns to Kratovitsy as a Prussian-trained officer fighting in the White Russian army and determined to stop the advance of Bolshevik forces in the Baltic states. He serves with his boyhood friend Conrad and eventually arranges to be billeted at Kratovitsy. Unfortunately war has brought a general neglect to the once excellently managed estate. He notices changes in his feelings for Sophie; her kiss makes him determined to view her as the sister he never had.
Erick does not love Sophie; rather, he views her as he sees himself, as a creature degraded by their circumstances. Sophie does not understand the complex workings of Erick’s mind, and he never is willing, perhaps is not even able, to describe his feelings for her. She is puzzled and embarrassed when Erick does not respond to her advances; even so, she realizes that he never rejects her, merely that he does not respond. She cannot understand why Erick misses no opportunity to belittle her and is puzzled by the oblique ways he chooses to do this, registering his disgust when she wears clothing he does not think appropriate, when she dances with officers stationed at Kratovitsy.

Their fates nevertheless remain hopelessly entwined, and Yourcenar mercilessly leads Erick to the story's inevitable, horrible conclusion. Each has, in a sense, the upper hand; each does what is necessary -- but the result is, of course, the complete destruction of both these human beings. There's little grace to the final, shattering coup de grâce.
This is very much an anti-romantic tale and with the war setting and has a determinedly dark atmosphere. However, Yourcenar's writing and the tight structure of the short novel combine to make this another great read from her pen. ( )
  jwhenderson | Jul 4, 2015 |
Alguns livros ficam marcados profundamente na minha memória. Eu nunca consigo superá-los. Após lê-los, um trecho ou vários ficam na minha cabeça por dias, ou para sempre, e eu os releio até decorar alguns trechos, então leio os trechos que eu sei de cor com a mesma exaltação, o mesmo arrepio na espinha. Eu não conseguia parar de reler alguns trechos desse livro, e ainda o abro em trechos aleatórios para ler um pouco. Mas ainda não consegui superar o final. Sophia abrindo os botões da camisa como se ele fosse atirar em seu coração. ( )
  JuliaBoechat | Mar 30, 2013 |
een verhaal over een jonge Baltische aristocraat tijdens de Eerste Wereldoorlog - met zijn vriend Conrad en diens jonge zus Sophie die verlieft op hem wordt ... vergeefs natuurlijk
vertaling van "Le coup de grace"
  rainbowhouse | Dec 4, 2012 |
Love triangle between two men and a woman shortly after World War I in the Baltic Countries. The protagonist’s hidden bisexuality and the lack of physical contacts are a strong element in Yourcenar’s novels.
  hbergander | Dec 12, 2011 |
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Marguerite Yourcenarprimary authorall editionscalculated
Marçal, Maria-MercèTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moering, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tuin, JennyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374516316, Paperback)

Set in the Baltic provinces in the aftermath of World War I, Coup de Grace tells the story of an intimacy that grows between three young people hemmed in by civil war: Erick, a Prussian fighting with the White Russians against the Bolsheviks; Conrad, his best friend from childhood; and Sophie, whose unrequited love for Conrad becomes an unbearable burden.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:19 -0400)

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