This novel must have been shocking in its day. It can be seen as an absolute indictment of the dissolute Parisian life of the upper classes in the 19th century. I say ‘absolute’ as there are no positive characters apart from apects of Paquita and she is not Parisian. The first chapter doesn’t gives any plot, it is a monologue by the narrator about the corruption of Paris and how all the various classes are grappling with each other for social advancement at any price. At the time I wondered what was going on, but by the novel’s end I thought it had set the things up nicely.
This is a free text which is in the public domain and can be listened to as an audiobook at Librivox.org or at Open Library. The translated language did seem a little dated which combined with some overly passionate reading on the audiobook did make me cringe at times. Still, it was entertaining and the twist is great. The themes of vice and love foiled by chance are timeless.
Soundtrack: Cinerama – Comedienne.