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Bel Ami, or The History of a Scoundrel

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By: (1850-1893)

In Guy de Maupassant's novel, we are introduced to the charming but morally corrupt protagonist Georges Duroy as he navigates the cutthroat world of 19th-century Parisian society. Duroy's ruthless ambition and lack of scruples propel him from a penniless ex-soldier to a wealthy and influential figure, using his charm and cunning to manipulate those around him.

Through Duroy's seductive and manipulative tactics, Maupassant exposes the dark underbelly of wealth and power, showing the lengths to which some will go to achieve success. The novel skillfully explores themes of ambition, greed, and the corrupting influence of power, painting a disturbing portrait of a man willing to betray anyone in order to achieve his desires.

Maupassant's writing is elegant and evocative, drawing readers into a world of opulence and deceit. The character of Duroy is complex and multifaceted, making him both repulsive and compelling in equal measure. As the novel progresses, we see Duroy's descent into amorality and corruption, culminating in a shocking and satisfying conclusion.

Overall, Bel Ami is a compelling and thought-provoking read that delves into the darkest depths of human nature. Maupassant's vivid storytelling and expert character development make this novel a must-read for anyone interested in exploring the complexities of ambition and power.

Book Description:

“He had faith in his good fortune, in that power of attraction which he felt within him - a power so irresistible that all women yielded to it.”

Though firmly set in 1880s Paris, Maupassant's gripping story of an amoral journalist on the make could, with only slight modifications of detail, be updated to the 1960s, to the Reagan-Thatcher years, or maybe to the present day. Anti-hero Georges Duroy is a down-at-heel ex-soldier of no particular talent. Good-looking but somewhat lacking in self-confidence, he discovers an ability to control and exploit women - whereupon his career in journalism takes off, fuelled by the corruption of colleagues and government arrivistes. He may be a provincial Don Juan, but he is neither accident-prone nor heading for a fall...

A Hollywood screen adaptation is in preparation at the time of recording.

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