Thérèse Desqueyroux by François Mauriac

It’s been so long hasn’t it? Let’s not lament but continue!

A good friend of mine and I went into Waterstones Piccadilly (aka the best place to lose all your money) and both came out with Thérèse Desqueyroux (and a stack of books I haven’t got round to reading yet, haha)

Premise: Thérèse is freed from court, acquitted for attempting to poison her husband, she reminisces about her marriage and all the unhappiness it brought her and wonders about the future.

Thoughts? I thought this novella was quietly engaging, it didn’t grip me but it had its own pull, if that makes sense. Thérèse is a complex character; a woman living in rural France in the 1920’s, trapped by the expectations of society and her family. She is educated and the heir to a fortune but she is unable to exercise any of these freedoms as she is expected to marry Bernard Desqueyroux and conform.

The way the book is structured is interesting; there are flashbacks, stretches of internal monologues involving different characters. A nice touch is that we don’t know the reason for Thérèse poisoning her husband; the narrator and the text makes it ambiguous.

I’d would say that Thérèse Desqueyroux is a good read; personally I love Thérèse as a character and the ending is fitting but I did not care for the other characters and I was not gripped by it. I would give it a 3/5.


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