Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant was born on 5 August 1850 in Tourville sur Arques. He was educated at Yvetot and the Lycée in Rouen. During the Franco-Prussian War, he worked in the military supply corps at La Havre. Later, he worked at the Ministère de la Marine and the Cabinet de l’Instruction Publique in Paris. It was during these years as a civil servant that de Maupassant made many influential friends among the literati in Paris.
Guy de Maupassant published his first volume of poems Der Vers in 1880. His first short story Boule de Suif made him famous. This was followed by Mademoiselle Tellier’s Establishment in 1881 and Mademoiselle Fifi in 1883 which were so popular that he was able to give up his job and concentrate on writing. He produced six novels, three travel books, four plays, poetry and about three hundred short stories. He died in July 1893.
She was one of those pretty and charming young girls who sometimes are born, as if by a slip of fate, into a family of clerks.
Last Second last line:
And she smiled with a joy that was at once proud and ingenuous. Madame Forestier, deeply moved, took her hands.
He compromised all the rest of his life, risked signing a note without even knowing whether he could meet it and frightened by the trouble yet to come, by the black misery that was about to fall upon him, by the prospect of all the physical privations and moral tortures that he was to suffer…
Most materialistic line:
Suddenly, she discovered, in a black satin box, a superb diamond necklace and her heart throbbed with an immoderate desire. Her hands trembled as she took it. She fastened it found her throat and was lost in ecstasy at her reflection in the mirror.
Layman’s plot: Woman’s vanity leads her to borrow Best Friend’s large, expensive ruby necklace for a ball. Woman’s negligence causes her to lose it at said ball. Woman and husband borrow money to get a replica made at the jewellers so Woman can return the lookalike to Best Friend. Husband and wife struggle in poverty for over a decade to pay off debts. One day, Woman bumps into Best Friend at Champs Elysees. The twist is in the last line of the story.
Verdict: A frustrating read as I’m one of those who hate unexpected twists for the worse in a plot.