Another intense study by Balzac into the nature of human relations. It’s very melancholy and keeps you guessing right the way through – though the plot isn’t wholly the point. Things are left unsaid and the characters are ambiguous. Is Granville all he seems – and how about the other characters? The two central women in the novel (Angelique and Caroline) seem to occupy the moral extremes while Granville’s life itself is a balance between the rigour of being a lawyer, while also possessing a poetic soul. If he was completely one or the other then the events in the novel wouldn’t overpower him. There’s lots to think about here. Balzac is a master.