Colonel Chabert

By Honoré de Balzac.

Another wonderful slice of melancholy from Balzac. As always other stories and back-stories are hinted at – making it an even richer tapestry of characters and potentialities. I can see how this could be developed into something much larger. Tolstoy probably could have written an enormous magnum-opus from this short story / novella. A war-hero colonel loses his identity after being left for dead and registered as such. Chabert then convinces a lawyer that he is that war hero and his scheming wife has also remarried and things then get complicated. But, of course, it doesn’t all end up like a Hollywood movie – there are far more subtleties. Quite a brilliant story which you continue to turn over in your mind after finishing.






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