Cautionary tale about falling for "big city lights".
Prosper Saval was a successful provincial artist in his hometown. He had his share of public, his well off position, even a young intelligent admirer. Among his audience one could count generals, women of society, even his femme de chambre.
But he longed for "Paris, full of artists". He was first conned by the madame owner of the restaurant, who tricks him into eating something he didn't really like "because the big masters of Art (Literature, at this time) were clients, and they took that and...". Then this man came, "Romantin", the one her bright female admirer was so fond of so... he drew their attention, giggled, pinched her phrase to ingratiate himself and...
If we ever went crazy for things or people who just didn't belong to us, (and who hasn't, really?) this could well be your antidote. Of course, from a distance, or with hindsight, we could all tell when or "how our anti hero should have got away from all this", but given the circumstances, I felt completely sorry for him. Even when (near the end, but no spoilers here) he was bragging about "Emile (Zolá), Edmond (Rostand)" and the others with his usual local public, I could feel that somebody would indeed really know them, and his tragedy could be complete. Settings, acting, everything is perfect in this rendition. The illusion of cinema goes well in this case.
Maupassant is a master of storytelling, probably wasn't very fond of people from the provinces (eventhough it seems to be what he describes best), so consequently I ended feeling sad and befuddled, but wiser. Recommended!
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