Title: The Necklace and Other Tales.
Author: Guy de Maupassant (translated by Joachim Neugroschel).
Genre: Short stories, literature, social criticism, horror, romance, war lit.
Publication Date: 1876, 1880, 1881, 1882, 1883, 1884, 1886, and 1889 (this collection 2003).
Summary: This volume collects 12 short stories—poignant scrutinies of social pretension, wicked tales of lust and love, and harrowing examinations of terror and madness. In The Necklace (aka The Diamond Necklace (1884), a lady of humble means who yearns for fame and riches borrows a diamond necklace from a friend for a ball, not suspecting it would lead to her utter ruin. Butterball (1880) is set in the Franco-Prussian War and follows a group of French residents of Rouen who decide to flee to Le Havre in a stagecoach, but are held up in the enemy's territory at an inn with the commanding officer only willing to let them go if a prostitute who's in their party agrees to sleep with him. In The Tellier House (aka Madame Tellier’s Establishment (1881), a novella, "Madame" Julia Tellier, a well-known procuress who runs a whorehouse in Normandy, takes her girls on an outing to her brother's village to attend the first communion of her niece Constance. In On the Water (aka On the River) (1876), a boat-man recounts a horrifying experience he had on the lake when he was stranded by a thick fog. In Mademoiselle Fifi (1882), set during the Franko-Prussian war, an unexpected confrontation takes place when occupying German officers request the company of prostitutes for a little celebration, but underrate the women's nationalist pride. In The Mask (1889), the attendees of a costume ball in Montmartre in for a sad shock when the most most energetic and fabulous guest loses consciousness and is unmasked. The Inn (aka The Hostelry) (~1886) is a story in which the young Ulrich and the older Gaspard take care of the Hauser family’s inn on the Gemmi pass high up in the Swiss Alps throughout the winter months, but encounter tragedy and horror in their isolation. In A Day in the Country (aka An Outing in the Countryside and A Country Excursion) (1881), a young woman has an unexpected, passionate and life-changing encounter with a stranger when her family takes a day off to spend in the country by the Seine. In The Hand (1883), a magistrate recounts an occurrence of a man who keeps his enemy's severed hand chained to a wall, claiming he is endangered by it, before he is seemingly murdered by it. In The Jewels (aka The False Gems(1883), an impoverished husband mourning his wife and struggling to manage his finances now she's gone is shocked when he takes her "fake, gaudy" jewelry to be appraised. The Model (1883) is a story of an artist and a model who would go to any lengths necessary to stop being his mistress and become his wife. The Entity (aka The Horla) (1886) is a novella of a man's steady decline into madness while living in the countryside near Rouen, as he becomes conscious of a horrifying, invisible presence that is taking him over.
My rating: 7.5/10
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