The Comedienne

reymontBy Wladyslaw S. Reymont

A very enjoyable if slightly old-fashioned novel from the Nobel Prize winning writer. Even when reading Balzac, Chateaubriand or even Hoffman you don’t get the same feeling of them being dated as you do with this novel. However I do think this may be down to the translation as it did seem rather awkward at times. There were magnificent parts in the Comedienne though and a real depth of insight. Reymont was an actor in his early life and the term ‘Comedienne’ simply refers to a female actor. You can see that not a lot has changed in the performing arts – there are scandals, intrigue and affairs. The point being that Janina, who is the main character (I wouldn’t say heroine) and doesn’t play the game suffers for it. She is not necessarily  likeable and that is where Reymont transcends the fiction of the day. He asks more questions than he gives answers and you are left with no character that you can completely empathise with. The world he creates is one of disorder. A worthwhile read and while it is dated and a little flawed and awkward in the language sometimes there is still much to inspire thought. Very good.

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