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Thérèse Desqueyroux walks free from court, acquitted of trying to poison her husband. Everyone knew she'd tried to do it, but family honour was more important than the truth. As she travels home to the gloomy forests of Argelouse, Thérèse looks back over the marriage that brought her nothing but stifling darkness, and wonders, has she really escaped punishment or is it onlThérèse Desqueyroux walks free from court, acquitted of trying to poison her husband. Everyone knew she'd tried to do it, but family honour was more important than the truth. As she travels home to the gloomy forests of Argelouse, Thérèse looks back over the marriage that brought her nothing but stifling darkness, and wonders, has she really escaped punishment or is it only just about to begin?Nobel-prize winner François Mauriac's masterpiece is Thérèse Desqueyroux, the story of a complex woman trapped by provincial life. First published in 1927, this astonishing and daring novel has echoes of Madame Bovary and has recently been made into a ravishing film starring Amélie actress Audrey Tautou....

Title : Thérèse Desqueyroux
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ISBN : 9780141394053
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 128 Pages
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Thérèse Desqueyroux Reviews

  • Corinne
    2019-02-21 14:21

    In this brief novel boiling with tension, we see the inner conflicts of the type in Madam Bovary or Anna Karenina, but a lot more compressed and intense. Usually, I don’t like dark novels of this type, but what kept me hooked is the powerful story-telling of Mauriac, an absolute masterpiece. A deeply flawed character, Therese, keeps us engaged, because Mauriac has skillfully transferred her point of view upon us, so we are with her even if we know she is doing something unethical.

  • Mariel
    2019-02-03 18:01

    I know nothing of love save that it is the constant object of my desire, a desire that possesses me and blinds me, setting my feet on the ways of the waste land, dashing me against the walls, forcing me into bogs and quagmires, stretching me exhausted in the muddy ditches of life.Run away, Thérèse. The trees where she suffered alone moan that is human. She's not alone. Mauriac is right that it is a huge family, the unresting, and a recognition would burn like an outbreak of forest fire. I don't believe it is as easy as saying no to the oppression of life. It isn't a choice to be happy. The suffocating husband Bernard is smugly snug in his bed that no one lies in another they didn't make. When young Thérèse is a sleepwalker, sold on settling down. Time she doesn't have. Hell is decisions too late. Bernard was a cold lover. I've been reading a lot of books lately that recall the selfish new husband in David Lean's film Ryan's Daughter. When I get married my dream lover will--- this is it? Forever? (The pitchforked everyone else come along too. How dare she want anything else?!) I don't know how she accepted the shallow waters of convent friend, and Bernard's half-sister, Anne, as affection. Anne and her kind don't know anymore than Thérèse does about happiness. Indeed, she must have maintained her stream of pious instruction as self assurance that she knew what she was in for. People like Anne and her father she can grace with nothing they needed her to give them so long as they are absent. Run away. It is so true that there is the personal understanding she is starving for, before Thérèse and after her. I think there's a truth closer to when she is before the judgement. The new Curé in the parish (the town don't think he's up to scratch either. Won't play sports, nose in books). Something akin to the person who can't let you down as rock shoulders of seashell oceans. If you went to flesh and blood and stone wouldn't let you in. Worse if every day went on without you in a foreign language of peace. The huge family is in The Curé's being and Thérèse can watch him without expecting anything. I have found that I feel relief from something that knows (though it's true that I have to have them all of the time. It is constant getting up) that cannot be called on to see you. She allows her husband to overdose himself, acts against her prison. Run away, run away, run away! In the first story 'Thérèse Desqueyroux' she is constructing her own defense, let off the judicial hook on lies for the family name but shut out from the same path others walk. It's that film "Bed-nobs and broomsticks" and she's drifting in her too late in a sky of cold beds, with strange heads of sleep she can't catch up. I wanted her to end it all, couldn't see that it was worth living in her home prison and nothing else. Bernard sees her emaciated living corpse and instead of his wife it is a picture of female inmates in his vision. There's some truth between this, the closest she gets to a reprieve, and knowing the prison of her husband's immovable fatness of himself. Their family are sitting on her. I can put myself in Thérèse's shoes to wish it had never happened, that she hadn't gone to the pharmacist with a forged prescription to poison the Bernard cell. To wish she had run away. To see the danger in the prison shells. That was pretty great this reality of what happened and what didn't have to happen. Don't do it, don't get married, don't have a baby. Don't get on the sides of mercy.I don't understand why Mauriac and Thérèse believed that Thérèse corrupts others. How can he believe that and also believe in that she isn't alone? What kind of sheltered dreams did daughter Marie have, the young would-be lover of 'Thérèse at the Hotel', Marie's conquest Georges, his idol Mondoux (Thérèse knew his type as the pimply afraid of women young man who the other young men adopt their cold fires), etc. etc. etc. lead that they went through every day with their bubbles in tact? It gave me a perverse pleasure when the high and mouse Anne is knocked down from her the world is too big for me and the empty suit that suits my romantic vision. The young man who loves to hear himself talk never loved her. She wouldn't have what she wanted, however much she blamed Thérèse. What is Marie winning by keeping the first and only life she imagines in marrying Georges? He doesn't want to marry her, tells her again and again that she will not be his life. What is this complete ownership that doesn't breed its own darkness? It made me happy that she is not "set". I don't know why it made me so happy. Really, I feel impatient hearing love plans, resent not being allowed to do what I want to scratch my soul's itching. See?! I wanted to cry. It isn't guaranteed that YOU are so special, and Thérèse is not, that it all works out to say this person and I don't have to do anything else. Thérèse herself would take her pin to their balloon and bring them down to where she lives. She doesn't live anywhere realer than them, though. Where when the person who understands you is enough. That it would take away the inconsolable ache, the I don't know what to do when the nights are too long. Whenever anyone has told me that I made them feel less alone I'd feel sick for the impending drop. I can't do anything and feeling those same feelings of loneliness and darkness isn't ever enough. I'm a dripping blanket, unable to uplift anyone else. What else do you DO after you've admitted to not knowing what to do? Why isn't acceptance enough? I want to cry how bleeding unfair it is that it is never enough to be. I have felt just as Thérèse does when she's the confident to the lovesick Anne and Marie. They only care about her to stand in the way of reality of family who say no to their this marriage is gonna set me for life shit. But what would have happened if one of those drunks attached to a deaf bench had had proof of light in making through another day? What if the maid she counts on to live and breathe as a human in the inhuman night had a mutual dependence on we're all a big family in Thérèse? What if the old Aunt Clara had once entered the room when her niece wanted her to be there? Thérèse was as big of a jerk as anyone else in that. And all I could think of for her to do was to say fuck it to the whole thing. If there was peace in doing that then go ahead and do that. When I was very young my mother railed at me for my ability to be happy in "worthless" things like books and movies. She would have had only accepted the Marie kind of world of cleaving to a husband and no one else exists. I had to get into a really good book to not feel sick about her anymore, I remember, but I did it. Thérèse didn't do anything to Georges when she knew about the young attached friend who he couldn't bear clinging to him. Why is the choice Thérèse's but it wasn't the choice of Georges to accept what weighted him down from the human-shark swimming? Flip no was it Georges fault that that young man died, either. If it is her choice, then it is their choice. I don't understand this either/or. I think people are torn between what it looks like all gone to hell. I think there's more than you are where you want to be when people can want opposing ends. To live your life and to see the end. If she corrupts, then they corrupt. Would anyone see Thérèse when she pulls back her hair to reveal her mangled brow and not see only the burst? Mauriac wrote more of her ending, a spiritual kind of acceptance that she couldn't feel in her human family. He consulted a real life priest about it and everything, but only after. I'm glad it isn't included. Watching her sleep like she did with baby Marie feels right to me.

  • Teresa Proença
    2019-02-20 15:21

    "Ela não compreenderia que eu só me interesso por mim mesma, que estou inteiramente ocupada comigo. Anne, pelo seu lado, está só à espera de ter filhos para se anular neles, como fez a mãe, como fazem todas as mulheres da família. A minha preocupação é descobrir-me, esforço-me por me encontrar... Ao primeiro vagido do fedelho que este anão lhe fará, sem despir sequer a jaqueta, Anne esquecerá a sua adolescência junto de mim e as carícias de Jean Azevedo. As mulheres da família aspiram a perder toda a sua existência individual. É bela essa entrega total à espécie; sinto a beleza de uma total destruição, de um tal aniquilamento... Mas eu, mas eu..."— François Mauriac, Thérèse Desqueyroux"Nós mulheres somos impetuosas, e por isso inconstantes. O homem é mil vezes melhor organizado; eles esperam. Quando um ser do sexo feminino deseja uma coisa, vive, agoniza, morre para a obter. E na sua cabeça não existe outro pensamento. Quando o consegue, surge de imediato o tédio e o desencanto. Nós somos loucas insaciáveis de ideais, e um após outro, sem descanso nem tréguas, até que a velhice ponha termo ao fogo da imaginação e da fantasia..."— Teresa Wilms Montt

  • Laura
    2019-02-05 11:20

    There is a new movie version of this book but I always want to read the book first. A gift from my brother.This novel is based on a true story when in May 1905 (thanks Wayne for your important remark about it!), the author attended the trial of the poisoner Mrs. Canaby: L’affaire des Chartrons.Therese, as well as Madame Bovary in some way, lives in her own world since her husband is not able to understand her feelings. Even with the birth of their daughter, their faith won't change any more.The author uses the flashback technique in order to tell the story. But, since it's a novella, sometimes the scale of time is too short.Page 33:Chloroforme: 30 grammesAconitine granules: no. 20Digitaline sol: 20 grammesThe first movie version of this book was made in 1962: Therese (1962)with Emmanuelle Riva and Philippe Noiret.A new version was made in 2012: Thérèse (2012) with Audrey Tautou and Gilles Lellouche.

  • tia
    2019-01-24 18:54

    "One can make the most contrary judgements about the same person, and yet be right- that it is all a question of the way the light falls and that no one form of light is more revealing than another."This novel may be a foreign country to a male reader (despite the fact it was written by a man!) because it describes the servitude of women who, throughout history, have ached and desired and cried in silence for freedom. I, as a fellow woman, pity Theresa when she attempts to poison her husband by degrees- what a gentle form of death she chose! for it would be the same death by inches she herself would experience throughout her miserable life. In our blind pity for her, we become complicit in her murder of the Male. But Theresa, having seemingly freed herself from one prison, enters another, one harder to leave than Alcatraz. For the prison she enters in Paris is one of countless, nameless crimes below the radar of the law but nonetheless as lethal. She needs the Male to define her, fulfill her silence; it is as if she unconsciously seeks to murder all men to compensate for the life she never could take, that of her husband. When Marie enters into her life unexpectedly, she does not spare her daughter's lover and his strange friend Mondoux. She envies her daughter and in her wild imagination entertains her forbidden love with Georges. She reverts to childhood, falls victim to heart problems exacerbated by paranoia and suspicion. At the end, she doesn't seek the hand of her daughter but that of her nurse-child Anna. Or is she merely interested in keeping her around for her chauffeur boyfriend? One wonders when the chase will be over? Theresa craves the end of life and the end of night but if given the chance, we feel that she would leave the chaffeur no less enchanted. Her power, that ageless feminine mystique, is shown to be subversive and we modern readers might call attention to Mauriac's misogynistic portrayal of women but upon deeper inspection, Mauriac has found us out, we men murderers.

  • Eddie Watkins
    2019-02-02 14:59

    Compassionate disgust. That’s how I’d sum up Mauriac’s view of humanity, or rather not of humanity but of the flesh of which humanity is composed. But this “flesh” extends beyond the actual flesh into all the background, all the buried impulses and motivations that lurk within our lives, leading our flesh into situations and traps, leaving it stranded and suffering and vying for an out, or at least a moment of tainted pleasure. The receptacle for this compassionate disgust in this volume is Therese Desqueyroux. Almost unconsciously, through no will of her own, she slowly and systematically poisons her husband, is exonerated with the help of her husband, and then is forced into exile from her family in Paris, where she continues to almost unconsciously, through no will of her own to wreak havoc in others’ lives, even though those others often welcome it, not as masochists exactly, but rather because she offers them a view into life’s depths of which they were previously unfamiliar. Each day offers new age-old traps so one must step lightly through life, but then again what’s the use? Flesh is tainted, and the only untainted pleasures are the pleasures of childhood. I suppose this is where his Christianity steps in, though that’s left out of the novels and sketches in this volume. Any kind of salvation is implied, existing outside of literature, outside of fleshy life itself. Here the flesh is left to fend for itself, and Mauriac makes us care for that flesh.

  •  amapola
    2019-01-31 17:18

    (ambiguo) profilo di donnaC’è chi si assoggetta (più o meno volentieri, più o meno consapevolmente) alle regole del vivere comune, al formalismo, al perbenismo di facciata o, perché no, alla moda del momento.C’è chi, invece, non vi si vuole assoggettare.Ma c’è anche chi – per temperamento, carattere, indole, natura – non vi si può assoggettare. E’ qui che sta il vero dramma.”Come spiegarle? Non capirebbe che io sono colma di me stessa, che mi occupo interamente. Anne aspetta solo di avere dei figli per annullarsi in loro, come ha fatto sua madre, come fanno tutte le donne della famiglia. Io, invece, bisogna sempre che mi ritrovi; tento in ogni modo di raggiungere me stessa. (...) È bello questo dono di sé fatto alla specie; sento la bellezza di questo cancellarsi, di questo annullarsi... Ma io, ma io...”.Figlia della buona borghesia, raffinata, colta, intelligente, curiosa del mondo, ma anche solitaria, annoiata, inquieta, Thérèse è uno dei “cuori sepolti e intimamente legati a un corpo di fango” che abitano i romanzi di Mauriac. Quello che gli è venuto meglio.Mauriac ha ripreso il personaggio di Thérèse in un altro romanzo (La fine della notte). Speriamo che venga ristampato, visto che è ormai introvabile… come purtroppo quasi tutta la produzione di questo straordinario Premio Nobel.

  • Rezvan
    2019-02-20 16:01

    «زندگی حتی اگر سراپا به گناه آلوده باشد، باز هم عظمت وجود انسان را ضایع نمی کند... کسانی که ظاهراً محکوم به بدی شده اند، شاید خداوند قبل از دیگران آنها را برگزیند و عمق سقوط آنان، درجه شایستگی و هدایت آنهاست.»فرانسوا موریاک باید اضافه کنم که فیلم فرانسوی ترز دکرو با اقتباس از این رمان در سال 2012 ساخته شده

  • booklady
    2019-02-15 14:21

    François Mauriac begins Thérèse Desqueyroux with her criminal case being dismissed. Accused of poisoning her husband, Thérèse, is acquitted by Bernard’s own felonious testimony only to become victim herself of a virtual house arrest as much for propriety’s sake as punitive vengeance. The family has closed ranks to hide the dirty secret of her guilt, determined Thérèse will remain captive in one room for the remainder of her life. And yet it’s Thérèse’s ambivalence about the crime which confounds her as well as us, the readers, as to the extent of her actual guilt, premeditation and remorse. She certainly seems to have committed this unspeakable atrocity, but how much did she actually plan her actions before she carried them out and how much did she just let things happen? We struggle to understand Thérèse as she struggles to know herself. Thérèse’s inner grappling have an eerie familiarity. Watching our heroine there is a sense a feeling of déjà vu. Her introspective efforts reminded me of similar self-examinations of conscience. Culpability is universal; ‘all have sinned’. Thérèse—through her criminal act—becomes scape goat for the collective weight of her accusers’ guilt. Her appeal as a character is her willingness to accept responsibility for her crime and yet still long for love, however little she expects to find it.Mauriac has surrounded Thérèse with the deeply flawed not to mention mostly hostile and yet we know Thérèse herself to be far from ideal. Often we’re not sure who to sympathize with. Again this seemed familiar. How often we are in a quandary, caught among the many forces and choices—unsure which is more or less evil, more or less good, but all is opaque. And just when we seem to be on the verge of a discovery or decision, the scene changes and the discernment process begins again. I found myself moved again and again by Thérèse, especially as/when she was at her most introspective. Her mistakes and her pain only endeared her to me all the more.Thérèse Desqueyroux is the first and the most famous of François Mauriac’s stories about the dark woman, but there are three sequels. Thérèse and the Doctor and Thérèse at the Hotel are both short stories, vignettes if you will. They give us glimpses of Thérèse from the time she is released to Paris from her house arrest until near the end of her life. The End of the Line is the final story in the quartet known as Thérèse and it is my personal favorite. Here many earlier threads of Thérèse’s life come together and Mauriac reveals the true character of our heroine for all who can see, delivering a very satisfying, yet not unbelievable or saccharine ending.

  • Luís Miguel
    2019-02-04 19:17

    Notam-se ecos da tradição Faubertiana em Mauriac. Thérese D. pertence àquela categoria de livros grandes demais para o número de páginas que albergam. Deve-o à densidade da escrita e ao que se intui da mesma. Neste livro conhecemos a ilustre Thérese, logo à saída do julgamento onde foi absolvida pela tentativa de homicídio do marido, por envenenamento. Através de analepses descobrimos a sua personalidade e o seu móbil, compreendemos o seu crime, para no fim a julgar. Manteremos o veredicto?Este nobel da literatura marca pela sua escrita sensorial e pela abordagem cinematográfica à história. Aqui, revelou ter utilizado uma técnica semelhante à dos filmes mudos, recorrendo a flashbacks, à descrição dos pensamentos dos personagens e à súbita apresentação das cenas. Além destes artifícios técnicos, a descrição física dos personagens reflete, nas suas doenças ou deficiências, a sua moral igualmente imperfeita.Mauriac faz alusões subtis, sugerindo ao leitor que debata e reflita sobre temas como o amor inatingível que Thérese vive (a componente religiosa também é muito debatida). Deixando-nos com a aparente ilusão de liberdade com que começámos o livro, parece apelar à sua releitura. As suas sequelas serão outros livros, outra personagem como não conhecemos aqui. Esta obra é única e merece ser reconhecida na riqueza dos seus pormenores.

  • Denis
    2019-02-06 13:53

    An indelible memory - I read this French classic a long time but have never forgotten it. Not sure if it's translated in English, but it certainly deserves to be discovered in this country. Mauriac is one of the great masters of the French language, and this novel is, deservedly so, one of his most famous and most celebrated. The title character, a murderess, is fascinating and her story is riveting. It's also a formidable portrait of French bourgeoisie.

  • Friederike Knabe
    2019-02-17 18:09

    Having recently watched the 2012 film version of Francois Mauriac classic novel, I felt the need to go back to the original novel that I read decades ago when I was in my late teens. Reading Therese Desqueyroux with a twenty first century lens, I was fascinated by Mauriac's complex and multi-faceted presentation of her "case". Inspired by a "fait divers" concerning an actual court case that he read in his youth, Mauriac became deeply drawn to the young woman at the centre of it: what motivated her to want to poison her husband, getting charged with attempted murder, but then sentenced for a much lesser crime. How much was the environment in which she lived also responsible for pushing her to this extreme action? Was she born "an evil person" and finally why was she not sentenced for the crime? All these questions are explored in more or less depth in Mauriac's 1925 novel. However, his approach is original and was probably highly unusual at the time: he writes most of the novel from the perspective of Therese herself. Her case dismissed thanks to the perjury statement by her husband Bernard, she returns "home" to the family estate in the Bordeaux region. On the long, slow voyage back by train and carriage, Therese prepares herself for her encounter with Bernard first of all. Can she find the words to express regret,can she explain what drove her to action? How will she be able to relate to husband and family and how will he and they treat her? Interspersed into the musings that incorporate flashbacks on her earlier life, the author addresses Therese directly or, at times, adds his "pauvre Bernard" and other brief commentary. Eventually, Therese and Bernard meet (in chapter nine of 13) and what ensues is both predictable and unexpected. Mauriac, no doubt, created in Therese a most complex character, a young woman contradictory in her behaviour and attitudes, who on the one hand knowingly entered a marriage that had as much to do with property and landownership as with family needs. She is both a pragmatist and an idealist who can dream of a different life. She is bored with her life, yet does not develop any emotional ties to her baby daughter. Still, she is a woman of her time with all the restrictions imposed on her by her surroundings and society at large. With today's perspective we can pass a different judgement on her actions and the reasons for them. For the devout Catholic Mauriac himself, the questions of sin, confession, forgiveness and redemption, were apparently central to his interest in the story and they are detectable in various references and allusions. Therese, however, is presented as an agnostic who seeks forgiveness in her own way and from the person she endangered and who has all the power over her.

  • Helynne
    2019-02-14 13:17

    The full title of this novel is actually Therese Desqueroux, and the inclusion of the protagonist's married surname is important to the theme. Francois Mauriac, who wrote most of his novels in the 1920s through the 1950s, is sometimes known as France's Catholic writer, but he was a rather uneasy Catholic who questioned orthodoxy and tended to write more sympathetically towards his characters who were in one kind or another of a personal or spiritual crisis. This 1926 novel asks the reader to consider just how desperately unhappy a wife would have to be if she attempted to poison her husband. Therese is married to Bernard Desqueroux, who, although he owns acres of pine trees in France's Bordeaux region and can offer her an easy life, is stern and distant. The poisoning occurs quite early in the narrative. Bernard survives, Therese is put on trial, but her in-laws manage to get the charges dismissed to avoid further bad publicity. All of Mauriac's narrative attention is focused on Therese as she waits for Bernard to take her back home. She looks back upon the crime through alternate states of conciousness and semi-consciousness not so much with feelings of guilt or horror at the attempted poisoning, but more upon how she can satisfactorily explain her motives to Bernard when he meets her at the station. Of course, such a crime can never be explained to a husband to his satisfaction. The next few months are a nightmare as Therese is kept a virtual prisoner in the family home and treated with mistrust and contempt by Bernard and his family. The 2012 French-language film version is a beautiful period piece, hauntingly faithful to the novel, and starring a subdued Audrey Tautou as Thérèse. I won't reveal any more about the novel's outcome except to say that Mauriac was so fond of this troubled heroine that he went on to write three more works about her life after this incident--short stories "Thérèse chez le docteur," and Thérèse à l'hotel" and novella Fin de la Nuit. Suffice it to say that Mauriac really loves Therese and follows her to happier chapters of her life. But in 1920s France, Therese doesn't have an easy road.

  • Mary
    2019-01-22 19:02

    An unforgettable portrayal of a complex,fascinating woman trapped by provincial life.Reminds me of Madam Bovary.They all know Therese is guilty but family honour means she walks free after being acquitted!But as she looks back towards the events that led to this she begins to wonder if her punishment has just begun.A brilliant novel with exquisite prose.Now to continue the story as I find there are three more stories that follow on from this.

  • Kirsty
    2019-02-08 15:02

    The two novellas, and two short stories, which follow Mauriac's most famous literary creation, Therese Desqueyroux, are set in Bordeaux and Paris. They chart her 'passionate, tortured life... Her story, brilliantly and unforgettably told, affirms the beauty and vitality of the human spirit in "the eternal radiance of death"'. Of Mauriac's writing, Justin O'Brien tells the following in the New York Times: 'Both his subject and his style frequently recall Racine and Baudelaire; and indeed we often feel that we are dealing here with a poem, so rich is the symbolism and so fleet is the arrangement of themes.' Martin Seymour-Smith says that: 'His books are bewitchingly readable.'The author's foreword, directed as it is toward Therese, ends: 'I take my leave of you upon a city's pavements, hoping, at least, that you will not for ever be utterly alone.' The title story begins with Therese walking from court, 'having been charged with attempting to poison her husband'. We then follow Therese as she is banished from her home, escapes to Paris, and spends her final years of solitude waiting. Mauriac's depiction of the Paris cityscape is nothing short of stunning: 'It is not the bricks and mortar that I love, nor even the lectures and museums, but the living human forest that fills the streets, the creatures torn by passions more violent than any storm.'There are so many small yet unusual details which render Therese a believable, and markedly human, character: 'She took off her left-hand glove and began picking at the moss which grew between the old stones of the walls they passed', and 'Once more she breathed in the damp night air like someone threatened with suffocation.' Mauriac clearly believes that he has built her up to such a realistic position; he writes: 'But compared with her own terrible existence all inventions of the novelist would have seemed thin and colourless.' His depiction of Therese's motherhood is often startlingly beautiful: 'There, in the darkness, the young mother would hear the even breathing of her slumbering child, would lean above the bed and drink down, like a draught of cool, refreshing water, the small sleeping life.'In Therese Desqueyroux, Therese tries desperately to remember why she married her husband; she loves him, both for himself, and what he stands for - property, family, security - but the passion which she would have imagined she had felt is unavailable to her. Soon after their marriage, Mauriac shows that things began to go sour, particularly for her husband, Bernard: '... their being together no longer gave him any happiness. He was bored to death away from his guns, his dogs, and the inn... His wife was so cold, so mocking. She never showed pleasure even if she felt any, would never talk about what interested him.' As for Therese: 'She was like a transported criminal, sick to her soul of transit prisons, and anxious only to see the Convict Island where she would have to spend the rest of her life.'Therese has been both beautifully written and translated. Therese's story is incredibly sad, and demonstrates how one can be overruled and shunned in terms of their character and choices. One cannot help but feel for Therese; she is a fascinating character to study. I did not quite love the collection, but the title story particularly was so interesting to read.

  • Vittorio Ducoli
    2019-01-22 19:21

    Quando il cattolicesimo non è dogmaticoFrançois Mauriac è uno scrittore francese oggi forse un po' dimenticato. Eppure è stato, per un cinquantennio, un'epoca cruciale che va dagli anni '20 alla fine degli anni '60 del secolo scorso, uno degli intellettuali francesi più noti e influenti. Cattolico, unì all'impegno letterario quello civile: si schierò contro il franchismo in Spagna e la Repubblica di Vichy, e nel dopoguerra condannò il colonialismo francese e la repressione in Algeria. Nel 1952 gli fu attribuito il Premio Nobel.Il suo cattolicesimo “eretico” lo portò ad essere criticato sia da “destra” sia da “sinistra”: famosa al riguardo è la critica, che gli rivolse Sartre, di essere poco credibile come ricco fustigatore della classe a cui apparteneva.Thérèse Desqueyroux, pubblicato nel 1927, è il romanzo più noto di Mauriac, da cui nel 1962 è stato tratto un omonimo film, alla cui sceneggiatura collaborò lo stesso Mauriac.La storia è quella di una moglie che tenta di avvelenare il marito, ed il romanzo, che inizia al momento della dichiarazione del non luogo a procedere da parte del giudice, ci narra, con un ampio flashback reso attraverso le riflessioni della protagonista nel suo viaggio di ritorno verso casa, la vita di Thérèse, dalla sua infanzia al matrimonio, dalla vita coniugale al tentato uxoricidio; quindi la storia riprende il suo corso e ci mostra ciò che accade in conseguenza di quel gesto. La scelta di lasciare che sia Thérèse a presentarsi, a narrarci la sua vita pregressa, è un primo elemento di indubbio fascino del romanzo: è la protagonista stessa che dovrebbe e potrebbe dirci le motivazioni del suo gesto, ed il fatto che non ce lo dica significa che non c'è una ragione, o perlomeno non c'è una ragione puntuale e immediatamente riconoscibile del tentato avvelenamento del marito. Thérèse decide infatti quasi casualmente di avvelenarlo, e nel colloquio finale con il marito, ad una precisa domanda di quest'ultimo, Thérèse risponde: Stavo per risponderti “Non so perché l'ho fatto”. Ma forse lo so, figurati! Potrebbe darsi che abbia compiuto quell'azione per vedere nei tuoi occhi un'inquietudine, una curiosità, un po' di turbamento, insomma. Se allora non c'è un motivo contingente che spinge Thérèse, quali sono le cause profonde del suo gesto? E' questo il grande interrogativo che Mauriac pone, ed è anche quello la cui risposta va ricercata nell'intera vicenda narrata, ed in particolare nella prima parte in cui la protagonista racconta sé stessa. La risposta, a mio avviso, è scoperta ma anche abbastanza sorprendente per uno scrittore profondamente cattolico come Mauriac: la causa del gesto di Thérèse è la famiglia, i rapporti sociali ed umani che si instaurano all'interno dell'istituzione che la chiesa cattolica (e non solo) considera il pilastro dell'ordine morale e sociale.Analizziamo infatti il contesto: la vicenda è ambientata nella profonda provincia francese, le lande rimboschite con pini neri a sud di Bordeaux, uno dei paesaggi più monotoni di tutta la Francia. Thérèse è figlia di un notabile locale, è sin da piccola uno spirito indipendente, è agnostica, le piace leggere e stare sola, ma il suo destino è già segnato: sposerà Bernard Desqueyroux, perché questo permetterà di riunire due grandi proprietà fondiarie. L'interesse supremo della famiglia, che è essenzialmente basato sull'accumulazione e sul mantenimento del prestigio sociale, non può essere messo in discussione, e Thérèse vi si sottomette docile, anche se il coniuge si rivela da subito gretto, più interessato alla caccia che a lei, e prevaricatore – se non violento – anche nei momenti di intimità. L'interesse della famiglia prevale anche nel caso di Anne, sorellastra di Bernard, che si invaghisce di un giovane ebreo che ha il torto di non avere un patrimonio: contro questa possibile unione si mobilitano tutti, facendo emergere anche un gretto antisemitismo, ed anche Thérèse accetta di giocare una parte non piccola nel ricondurre la pecorella smarrita all'ovile. Thérèse vive comunque i suoi ruoli di figlia, di moglie, e presto anche quello di madre, con indifferenza, perché questo è l'unico atteggiamento che le consente di non far esplodere le sue contraddizioni interne, di sopportare lo iato tra le sue nebulose aspirazioni di emancipazione e i binari sociali entro cui è costretta. Subisce il fascino del giovane innamorato di Anne, figura di pseudo-intellettuale cinico e fintamente libero dalle convenzioni sociali, ma senza tradire il marito e capendone presto la personalità ipocrita. Il tentato avvelenamento del marito non è gesto che segnala la rottura di un equilibrio interiore, ma è pienamente inscritto in quell'equilibrio dell'indifferenza che la caratterizza e che le consente di andare avanti.La famiglia determina anche le conseguenze del gesto: il marito può solo immaginare che la causa del gesto di Thérèse sia stata il tentativo di essere l'unica proprietaria delle terre e dei pini, depone a suo favore solo perché è necessario salvare le apparenze nei confronti della società, e costruisce la terribile punizione di Thérèse facendo in modo che la gente continui a crederli una coppia felice. Nel bel finale, sembra per un attimo che Bernard si metta in discussione, che cerchi di spogliarsi del suo ruolo, di capire perché, ma subito rientra nei ranghi, ed a Thérèse non resta che andare incontro ad una nuova vita, sottomettendosi ancora una volta con indifferenza alla volontà altrui.Paola Dècina Lombardi, nella sua introduzione a questa edizione del romanzo (oggi peraltro disponibile in altra edizione), parla di predestinazione di Thérèse, ed in generale mette in evidenza i caratteri trascendenti, la potenza forsennata che domina il personaggio, che sul suo cammino distrugge ogni cosa lasciandola terrorizzata. Non concordo con questa interpretazione intimistica della vicenda, perché ritengo che sia molto evidente come la predestinazione di Thérèse derivi in realtà dal contesto storico e sociale in cui si trova a vivere, dal contrasto tra i valori su cui si fondava il potere della borghesia terriera della Francia a cavallo tra XIX e XX secolo (non diversi da quelli della borghesia tout-court) e valori diversi, che ella oscuramente presagisce ma che non è in grado di razionalizzare e contrapporre alle convenzioni che le vengono imposte dalla famiglia. Anche se è vero (non ho letto altro dell'autore) che nel corso della sua evoluzione umana e intellettuale Mauriac ha finito per far prevalere tematiche che portano a dio come unico approdo rispetto alla disperazione umana e sociale, credo che si debba dare atto di due aspetti fondamentali che caratterizzano quest'opera e che a mio avviso rendono il cattolicesimo di Mauriac non dogmatico (come del resto la sua biografia dimostra): il primo è che, come detto, Mauriac individua con precisione le cause del male come cause sociali, umanamente determinate dalle condizioni materiali dell'esistenza e dai rapporti che queste costruiscono; il secondo è che il romanzo, con il suo finale aperto, non fornisce risposte, tantomeno risposte di tipo palingenetico-religioso. Questi aspetti dell'opera fanno di Thérèse Desqueyroux un romanzo da leggere con attenzione ancora oggi, anche se, a mio avviso, non siamo di fronte ad un capolavoro: vi è un certo schematismo nei personaggi di contorno che stride con la complessità di Thérèse, e lo stile di scrittura è comunque abbastanza dimesso e convenzionale, in un'epoca che vedeva le avanguardie battere terreni ben più avanzati; va comunque messa in rilievo la lucidità e l'onestà intellettuale con cui il cattolico Mauriac demolisce il mito, tipicamente cattolico, della famiglia come fonte di ogni bene.

  • Rizal
    2019-02-12 12:02

    Ohhhhhhhhh my my my. What a hard book to read! So complex. Although I really love Therese but sometimes I couldn't connected to her in some ways. Her voice and mind are very complex to read of. This book was so intricate for me that I need to put it down and take a walk, play with cats after I read every 10 pages or so and then pick it up again. The plot was quite simple but the way it laid it out and connected it with a complex character mind and how she 'act and react' to it was quite amazing. This was not a fast read book for me and I think I will enjoy this book much much more if I reread this in the future or perhaps watch the movie adaptation. I quite like this one.

  • Rita Neves
    2019-01-25 15:12

    "Romance inspirado em factos de crónica que chocaram a sociedade da época e marcaram profundamente o autor, ao ponto de nunca mais abandonar a sua personagem, Thérèse Desqueyroux, por muitos apenas comparável a Madame Bovary, é considerada uma das obras mais significativas e intemporais da litetatura do século XX"Estes "factos de crónica que chocaram a sociedade da época" referem-se a um caso, que ocorreu na França, no qual uma mulher tentou envenenar o marido. E é a partir deste caso que François Mauriac (prémio nobel da literatura em 1952) vai criar a sua personagem Thérèse Desqueyroux e no qual se vai inspirar para escrever este romance que é, provavelmente, o mais conhecido e aclamado do autor. Thérèse Desqueyroux tenta, igualmente, envenenar o marido. No entanto, eu acredito que Mauriac, com este romance, tenta transmitir muito mais do que a simples infelicidade de uma mulher que se casa com um homem que não ama, um casamento que era conveniente apenas às famílias de ambos. Este livro vai para além da simples crítica social ou para além de uma crítica ao casamento, na verdade, acredito que não eram estes o principiais aspectos que Mauriac quis transmitir com este livro, acredito sim, que uma pergunta importante que o autor nos tenta fazer é se Thérèse tem ou não responsabilidade moral no crime que praticou.Mas, afinal, quem é a tal Thérèse Desqueyroux? Thérèse viveu uma infância algo solitária, interessava-se muito por ler, e a única amiga que tinha (se assim a podemos considerar) era Anne, embora Thérèse admita que Anne, a pureza de Anne, era composta apenas de ignorância. Thérèse cresceu, e desde há muito tempo que as famílias de Thérèse e de Bernard desejavam um casamento entre os dois, de maneira a fundir as propriedades de ambas as famílias. Thérèse e Bernard casam-se, até porque para Thérèse, tanto a ideia de mais riqueza, como do casamento em si, não pareciam assim tão más, e simplesmente era o que se esperava dela e o que ela de certo modo esperava para si. Mas, claro, logo a partir do dia do casamento Thérèse percebe que nunca iria ser feliz num casamento, muito menos num casamento com Bernard.Bernard é um homem pouco dado às ideias, muito prático e simples. Para ele as pessoas faziam tudo por um motivo, por isso, o que Thérèse lhe tinha feito só podia ter um motivo muito claro. No fundo, Bernard é o aposto de Thérèse, tudo o que ele faz é em prol da família, a família é o mais importante. Em todas as suas acções podemos perceber o que o motivo, enquanto que Thérèse se sente sufocada na família, é dada a ideias complexas e ambíguas e mostra também algum egocentrismo.No entanto, os motivos que levaram Thérèse a tentar matar o marido não são simples nem claros, a própria admite que não sabe bem porque é que o fez, simplesmente sentiu que o tinha de fazer mas sem nunca tomar plena consciência do que estava realmente a fazer. Thérèse foi quase um agente passivo neste crime, pelo menos tudo o leva a crer. Este crime resulta de várias circunstâncias que, nem a própria, consegue explicar ou compreender muito bem. No fim, é este acto quase insconsciente que, quase tirando a vida a Bernard, a vai libertar da família, até porque se tornou num empecilho e Bernard decide que ela poderá ir viver para Paris e fazer a sua vida longe dele.Muito mais se pode dizer sobre este livro, faço aqui apenas um pequeno resumo, na verdade, Thérèse é uma personagem muito complexa e os seus comportamentos e acções, tudo o que pensa e faz podem levar a reflexões por parte do leitor, assim como é importante reflectir o que é que Mauriac nos quis, afinal, transmitir com este romance. É um romance que vai muito para além das tais "127" páginas, até porque muito mais se passa nestas 127 páginas e muito mais poderia ser dito sobre ele mas, também acredito que este livro está aberto a diferentes interpretações.Tenho mesmo de admitir que gostei muito deste livro, de certo modo, identifiquei-me bastante com esta personagem ambígua e confusa que é Thérèse Desqueyroux, sobre a qual o própria autor afirmou `Thérèse Desqueyroux, c'est moi.’, um pouco a exemplo do que Flaubert também afirmou relativamente a Madame Bovary. Julgo que também eu afirmo que `Thérèse Desqueyroux, c'est moi.’.Admito que este não será um livro que agrade a todos os tipos de leitores, no entanto, não posso deixar de recomendar a sua leitura, em especial àqueles que gostam de personagens psicologicamente complexas que o fazem reflectir sobre, no fundo, a nossa condição humana e a responsabilidade que cada um tem nas suas próprias acções tendo em conta as circunstâncias. "Muitos admirar-se-ão que eu tenha podido imaginar uma criatura ainda mais odiosa do que todos os meus outros heróis. Não serei eu alguma vez capaz de falar dos seres resplandecentes de virtude e que não têm história, mas eu conheço a dos corações escondidos e imbricados num corpo de lama.Teria gostado que a dor te conduzisse a Deus, Thérèse; e por muito tempo desejei que fosses digna do nome de santa Locusta. Mas muitos, apesar de acreditarem na queda e na redenção das nossas almas atormentadas, teriam gritado: sacrilégio!Pelo menos, neste passeio onde te abandono, tenho a esperança de que não estejas sozinha"

  • verena
    2019-02-19 17:21

    une petite déception je dois l'avouer. Je trouve le récit tout d'abord assez daté dans son style. Deuxièmement, je considère la plume de Mauriac terriblement masculine. Je ne suis par partisane de la "gender literature" attention, néanmoins j'ai profondément ressenti le "genre" de l'auteur derrière ses écrits. Lorsque Mauriac expose les pensées profondes de Thérèse, à chaque fois, je me suis dit "voilà une remarque peu féminine". J'ai trouvé Thérèse peu attachante, je ne me suis pas investi dans la lecture de ce roman. J'étais détachée, me disant que je me fichais au fond de ce qu'il pouvait arriver à cette Thérèse totalement fictive. Mon avis est personnel, mais d'après moi Mauriac comprend peu la psychologie féminine. Il ne parvient pas à créer un personnage féminin pour lequel on éprouve une profonde empathie. Thérèse Desqueyroux, c'est une mauvaise Emma Bovary. Une pâle copie sur laquelle on aurait ajouté un élément criminel: l'empoisonnement de son mari plutôt que le sien. La description de l'ennuie de l’héroïne, l'important du decorum, etc. Tout est si peu original!!! Si vous connaissez vos classiques ce roman ne vous apportera rien. Je ne recommande pas cette lecture, c'est un roman très court et pourtant j'ai trouvé le moyen de m'ennuyer!

  • Greg Fanoe
    2019-01-25 14:54

    Nobel Prize ProjectYear: 1952Winner: François Mauriac Review: This volume consists of Mauriac's two novels about Thérèse, Thérèse Desqueyroux and The End of the Night, as well as two short stories about her life. Collectively the two novels, especially Thérèse Desqueyroux. The issue is that these novels mix together the traditional novel and traditional themes with hints of modernism in a way that makes it feel very dated. This has not aged well. I'm glad I read the books, because they are well written and well translated, but I'm not rushing out to read more of François Mauriac's outputVerdict: François Mauriac was a famous author in his time, and critically acclaimed, and it was probably inevitable that he would win the Nobel. His traditional Catholic morality put him in public disputes with the other major French authors of his day, primarily Camus and Sartre, who did not respect his work. Perhaps it is for this reason that he is virtually forgotten today (at least in the US).

  • رانيا محيو الخليلي
    2019-02-01 18:10

    رغم أنها رواية صغيرة لكنها "رواية" وليست "نوفيلا"، برع بكتابتها فرانسوا مورياك بأسلوب روائي مبدع ومتقن ومتمكن من أدواته. "تيريز ديكيرو" رواية كتبها مورياك عام ١٩٢٧، تتحدث عن الفوارق العقلية بنفس مستوى الطبقة الإجتماعية. تيريز، تربت يتيمة الأم في كنف والدها العلماني الذي لا يكن أي اعتبار للعواطف، وحرصت على رعايتها عمتها الصماء كلارا التي قضت حياتها في خدمة العائلة ومتطلباتها دون أن يكون لديها أي دور تؤديه لذاتها. تتزوج تيريز من برنار ديكيرو، ابن عائلة إقطاعية ثرية ملتزمة دينيا. زواجها ليس نتيجة قصة حب ولا لأجل استثمار مالي نظرا لانسجام مصالح العائلتين المادية والعقارية في بلدة أرجلوز، ولكن تتزوج فقط للزواج. وهنا تنشأ المشكلة او العقدة لديها، لاسيما بعد انجابها ابنتها ماري، وكأنها تقع فريسة اكتئاب ما بعد الولادة لم يأت على ذكرها مورياك في روايته. مشكلة تيريز كانت في قدرتها على التكيّف مع واقعها الأسري الجديد. تظهر بداية وكأنها ضحية، ضحية وجودها في مجتمع لا تنتمي إليه ولم تستطع التكيف معه. مما أوصلها لمحاولة قتل زوجها عن طريق التلاعب بوصفة دوائه وتسميمه. الزوج ينجو ويسامح ويترك لتيريز حريتها لتعيش حياتها، يوصلها بنفسه إلى باريس بعيدا عن همسات وقيود بلدتها أرجلوز وبداخله رغبة واحدة وهي معرفة لماذا أقدمت تيريز على محاولة قتله. حتى تيريز لا تعرف السبب. مجرد خاطر طرأ لها وحاولت تطبيقه. تيريز عاشت في عالم الكتب الذي أبعدها عن واقعها وأرادت عالما شبيها للخيال يأخذها نحو مكان مختلف تكتشف نفسها من خلاله. بداية تمثّل هذا العالم بحبيب صديقتها وشقيقة زوجها جان أزيفيدو، وهو يهودي ومن طبقة إجتماعية غير ميسورة كما أنه مستقل ولا يكترث لكل من يحيط به وربما كان النموذج الذي أرادت الاحتذاء به دون ان تعرف كيف. وعندما أعاد لها برنار حريتها تخلت عن فكرة لقاء جان أزيفيدو والتقرب منه، لأن ما أرادته هو وحدتها وانصهارها في عالمها الخاص حتى تتمكن من اكتشاف ذاتها باستقلالية تامة عن أي إنسان. كتب مورياك هذه الرواية نقلا عن قصة حقيقية لمحاكمة مدام كنابي التي عاشت نفس ظروف بطلة روايته تيريز ديكيرو وأقدمت على محاولة قتل زوجها الذي نجا أيضًا لكنها حوكمت بالسجن خمسة عشر شهرا. أما دوافعها فكانت حبها لرجل آخر. مورياك حضر محاكمة تلك السيدة وهو لم يبلغ العشرين من العمر بعد وتأثر بها وأعاد نقلها بصورة أدبية مشوقة مع التركيز على جانب فلسفي يظهر الفرق بين التربية الدينية المحافظة التي تضع حدودا للتفاعل الواقعي والعاطفي والتربية العلمانية التي تجد مبررا حتى لاقتراف جرم. تيريز وإن بدت ضحية بداية الرواية لكنها بقيت بنظر نفسها "مجرمة" وعالقة داخل قضبان إدانتها لنفسها وهي تبحث عن تبرير لما فعلته مرددة في أكثر من موقع بأن عدم وجود ضحية يؤكد عدم وجود جريمة. ولعل مواساتها الوحيدة أن ما اقترفته جعل منها وحدها ضحية. تجدر الإشارة إلى أن فرانسوا مورياك حاصل على جائزة نوبل للآداب عام ١٩٥٢.

  • Czarny Pies
    2019-01-28 11:58

    This is without a doubt the masterpiece of Francois Mauriac, the Winner of the 1952 Nobel Prize Literature. It is the story of an arranged marriage involving the provincial nobility of France. Our heroine Therese finds her husband to be such an unspeakable bore that she attempts to get out of her marriage by attempting to poison him She administers a good number of doses of arsenic before the pharmacist turns her in. Her good-natured if boring husband agrees to grant her a divorce.The characterizations are so well done that the novel works brilliantly. Because of its brevity, Therese Desqueyroux is a perennial favourite on French lit courses for anglophones. If your university days are behind you it is still well worth the read. Its portrait of the social mores of the provincial nobility is fabulous.After you read it, download the movie with Audrey Tautou in the lead role. It is extremely faithful to the book and features several excellent acting performances.

  • Julieta Paradiso
    2019-02-18 18:16

    Sans trop dévoiler, je vais tout simplement dire que cette histoire est bien du Mauriac. On y rencontre ses personnages tourmentés, l’hypocrisie des familles, le climat lourd qui semble tout envelopper…L’écrivain tel un analyste des passions essai de jeter de la lumière sur le mal, son origine, son déclic, ses motivations, ses conséquences. Or est-il possible de fouiller si profondément dans les tréfonds de l’âme humaine? Une chose est claire : le mal, ou le péché, est un vrai mystère. J’ai moins apprécié le sujet du roman que la technique narratrice, tant elle est riche en métaphores, figures de rhétorique, et traitement du temps. C’est ça, du moins pour moi, où réside toute la richesse littéraire de cet ouvrage.

  • Vasco Simões
    2019-02-20 10:54

    Amor não correspondido é tramado. O divórcio às vezes tornas as coisas mais fáceis mas naquela altura não se usava de todo. A Teresa é tramada e consegue levar a sua vontade avante. Teimosa e obstinada tem os seus recursos. Belo livro apesar de curto.

  • David
    2019-01-23 17:54

    It's another Thirst for Love! Fabulous!

  • Lobstergirl
    2019-01-29 14:12

    After Mauriac had written the novella Thérèse Desqueyroux, about a woman in 1920s rural France who is acquitted of attempting to poison her husband, he kept writing. Over the next 10 years he wrote three additional sections that he would tack onto the novella; two very short ones, in which Thérèse has left her tiny hamlet and her infant daughter and husband and moved to Paris as a single woman, and a longer one, equal in length to the original novella, in which her heart ailment becomes increasingly painful and brings her closer to death, and her daughter Marie, now 17, visits her in Paris because she has fallen in love with a young man studying there. This last section is published independently as La Fin de la nuit, 1935 (English: The End of the Night).This edition contains the original 1927 novella plus the other three sections: Thérèse and the Doctor, Thérèse at the Hotel, and The End of the Night.The original novella is by far the strongest. Thérèse, who was in fact guilty of the charges but aided by her husband Bernard, who corroborates her lies in the stand in order to spare the family scandal, comes across as a sympathetic character - a strong woman with her own opinions who refuses to be cowed by whatever society, or her relatives, have planned for her. I sensed overtones of lesbianism in her relationship with her best friend Anne, although it's possible I was reading too much into it. Thérèse and her husband Bernard (Anne's brother) are clearly ill-matched, as we see from both current events and the flashbacks Thérèse embarks on as she leaves the courthouse and travels by wagon and train back to her home in Argelouse. Bernard is only interested in business and hunting, while Thérèse, basically a nihilist, feels bored and stifled by country life. Mauriac's physical description of the pine forests and coastal area of the region is wonderful (both Thérèse's and Bernard's families make their living from the resin of the local pine forests).The setting switches to Paris. Bernard won't divorce Thérèse, and will still financially support her to a degree, but he demands that they live apart and that she not be in contact with Marie. In the second section we meet a Parisian doctor and his wife as they are about to be visited by Thérèse. It's supposedly a professional rather than a social call, but the wife is suspicious of both her husband and Thérèse, who is unbalanced and needy. The third section is written in the first person and entails Thérèse's obsession with a very young man she meets at the hotel they are both staying at. In the final section, Thérèse is both physically ailing, and rapidly aging, and extremely emotionally needy, dependent on her servant Anna to stay with her until she falls asleep some nights, and asking for kisses from her. She receives a surprise visit from her daughter Marie, who is in love with a young student named Georges. Georges, however, is just stringing Marie along, and falls in love with Thérèse. Thérèse refuses him, offers him some of her family money if he will marry Marie, and everyone moves back to Argelouse as Thérèse prepares to die.The Paris sections feel grimy, gritty, and frankly disgusting. Thérèse is described as increasingly homely, her forehead getting higher as her hair thins, her face gaunt, her hands mottled. Georges lives in squalor, and their brief relationship, while not actually sexual, was heeby-jeebifying. I longed for the pines of Argelouse. 4-5 stars for the original novella, 3 stars for everything else.

  • Antenna
    2019-02-06 14:53

    Inspired from his youth by the real-life case of Blanche Canaby, accused of the attempted murder of her husband, Mauriac developed the classic tale of Thérèse Desqueyroux, a character who fascinated him so much that she figures in two subsequent novels.In the opening chapter, the charge of poisoning her husband Bernard is dropped against Thérèse Desqueyroux, after he has lied to "get her off the hook" for the sake of appearances. The rest of this short novel is an exploration of why she committed the crime, and the aftermath of her acquittal. Set in the pine forests of Les Landes near Bordeaux, this is a study of the stifling convention and hypocrisy of bourgeois landowning families in 1920s France. Intelligent and "charming", if not exactly "jolie". Thérèse has passively accepted her lot, which is to marry Bernard, son of the neighbouring family and step-brother of the bosom friend Anne for whom she may harbour more than a schoolgirl crush. Prior to marriage, she is quite attracted to Bernard, with the added appeal of his property to be combined with her inheritance. Too late, she realises the extent of his dullness, growing tendency to over-eating and hypochondria, but perhaps worst of all is the sexual contact for which she has not been prepared - in time, his mere physical presence repels her.Having recently seen the film version of this novel, starring Audrey Tautou, I was reluctant to read this for a book group: although sympathetic to Thérèse's sense of being trapped, I was alienated by the irrational and excessive nature of her attempt to murder Bernard. Having read the novel, and gained an insight into her thoughts, I continue to regard Thérèse as psychopathic in her coldness, showing a lack of maternal feeling for her daughter Marie, and jealousy towards Anne, stabbing in the heart the photograph of her unsuitable lover and, with an ulterior motive which does not bear close analysis, joining readily in the family plot to separate the pair. When she is driven to contemplate poisoning herself, she is unable to do so, but at least recognises the "monstrous" aspect of this, since she was quite prepared to poison Bernard without compunction.On the other hand, although I do not think Mauriac adds much to the theme of female repression which has been covered so often - perhaps in part because he finds it hard to get inside a woman's mind - it is the quality of Mauriac's writing in the original French, less so translated into English, which impresses me. I like the way he plays with time, mixing together present situations and fleeting thoughts about the past or future in a kind of stream of consciousness which must have seemed quite radical at the time. His portrayal of the pine forests in changing weather, to which Thérèse can clearly relate better than to people, is striking. He tends to write in emotionally violent terms about overwrought dysfunctional characters tied together by social bonds - the title of his famous "Knot of Vipers" being a good example of this. His bitter, vituperative flow, full of images of walking over the still warm ashes of a landscape one has burnt, being frozen in the immense and uniform ice of an oppressive environment or drowning oneself in the crowds of Paris, holds one's attention, even when having little liking for the characters or even perhaps the author himself.This edition contains some useful analysis and notes on the author.

  • Samuel Peliska
    2019-01-27 11:55

    A fascinating novel in which an unhappy young wife tries to poison her husband, but for reasons that are not clear even to herself. Mauriac examines how even someone as intelligent and adept at self-examination as Thérèse can remain a mystery to herself. He also shows how such institutions as religion and the family can become stifling and even inhumane when charity is superseded by materialism and obsession with social (and political) correctness. Raymond Mackenzie's new translation is wonderfully lucid, in my opinion an improvement over Gerard Hopkins' earlier translations of Mauriac's work, which are fine but occasionally overwrought.

  • Ruth
    2019-01-29 17:52

    This book wasn't very easy to read in French, but it is certainly very well written. The style is very poetic, which contributes to the difficulty but also to the beauty of this book. The psychology of the different characters is deeply explored. As a result, I felt deeply for Thérèse, who suffers terribly. Mauriac depicts the emotions of the protagonist very well, which renders this novel really compelling.

  • Vincent
    2019-02-04 19:17

    e livre étonnant nous plonge dans les tourments d'une femme de la bonne bourgeoisie du sud-ouest qui tente d'assassiner son mari. Tout le livre est une enquête pour connaître les motivations et fouiller l'âme de cette femme brillante mais aliénée. L'élégance de l'écriture offre un contraste saisissant avec la violence des sentiments et du propos. C'est vif, brillamment construit, fin : on ne décroche pas de ce court roman.