Item description for Pierre Et Jean (Petits Classiques Larousse Texte Integral) by G. Maupassant...
Henry James's admiration for "this masterly little novel" has been echoed throughout the twentieth century by readers of Pierre et Jean. It 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 greatest 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.
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Reviews - What do customers think about Pierre Et Jean (Petits Classiques Larousse Texte Integral)?
A Classic Short Story May 29, 2007
This has to be one of the nicest novella's I have ever had the pleasure of perusing. I guess one should expect nothing less from this Maupassant masterpiece. After all, Maupassant (along with Chekov) is considered one of the founding fathers of the modern day short story, and this is considered to be his greatest work. There is more to this book than the old Cain and Abel story of sibling rivalry. It's also a telling tale of filial love, forgiveness, and the steadfast, unconditional love of a mother. It's very powerfully told with all the passion and emotion one would expect from a disciple of Flaubert and a friend of both Zola & Turgenev.
I will definitely be placing this work on my top shelf of favorites. It is one of those rare stories that will leave you thinking about it long after you turn the last page. Maupassant created a character in Pierre that is so sublimely human, such a complex, abstruse, big ball of paradox. At times, it is easy to despise him and at other times you can't help but identify with, and feel compassion for the man. After all, how heartless can one be not to sympathize with a man who has gone his whole entire life playing second fiddle to his more attractive, amicable, and younger brother Jean. Jean gets the girl, he gets the inheritance, gets the luxury flat Pierre originally had his sights on, and most importantly perhaps (because this has been going on since childhood) Jean is his parent's favorite. Come now, it's so easy to pass judgment on this man, but who among us wouldn't be experiencing the same inner torment that plagues Pierre?
"There was within him some little place that hurt, one of those almost imperceptible bruises that cannot be located, yet fidget, tire, depress and irritate you, an unidentifiable, trifling pain, a sort of seed of unhappiness."
I highly recommend this one!
Great edition Apr 28, 2006
I haven't seen any other edition of this novella, but this one is very good in analysis. It is a pleasure to read the footnotes while reading the book, as if you are listening to a discussion in a French literature class.
doubtful paternity Jul 18, 2004
This is a short novel, easy to follow, and enjoyable to read.
Here's what it's about basically. There's these two brothers, right?--as the title indicates. One of them gets a really nice inheritance from a family friend. The other brother gets NOTHING. He's jealous of his brother for his good fortune, and gets suspicious about WHY his brother got the inheritance. He finds out that it's because their mother had an affair with the family friend and his brother was born illegitimately from the affair. He confronts his mother about it and she admits it. That's why his brother got the inheritance, because he was the family friend's true son, it was a shameful secret that the mother kept from her husband (their father). That's all there is to it. It's not a complex book and the story's pretty simple, but the underlying psychology is really interesting and the book is very well-written--very tight and engaging. Maupassant's best novel, I would say.
David Rehak author of "Love and Madness.
A STUDY OF FAMILY RELATIONS Mar 13, 2003
WHAT CAN BE EXPECTED TO HAPPEN IN A FAMILY WHEN ONE OF ITS MEMBERS INHERITS A LARGE SUM OF MONEY? EVERYBODY IS HAPPIER AND BETTER OFF, RIGHT? WRONG! AS WE SEE FROM THIS STORY, THE WHOLE FABRIC OF THE FAMILY CAN BECOME TORN. YET, BY EMPLOYING SOME SUBTLE TACTICS, MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY CAN FIND A WAY TO STAY TOGETHER. AT A BIG PRICE THOUGH, BECAUSE ONE OF THE MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY HAS TO HOLD HIMSELF ALOOF IN ORDER TO PRESERVE FAMILY BOUNDS. A VERY DELICATE STUDY OF THE SUBJECT!
Sibling Rivalry Nov 5, 2002
This short novel just blew me away with intense and detailed characterzations and a plot that builds tension based on the interaction between the members of a family that is nearly rocked by a seemingly positive development. The two grown brothers are established as near opposites in almost every detail and when one inherits money from an old family acquaintance the reason behind their differences becomes the driving force of the story and it's revelation nearly rips the family apart. A short novel that will stay with you for some time after reading it.