Thursday, November 18, 2021

Reader's Diary #2254- Simone de Beauvoir, translated by Patrick O'Brian : The Woman Destroyed

Actually a collection of three novellas, the title comes from one of the novellas, the others being The Age of Discretion and The Monologue. They all focus on women who have just retired and they're all miserable. They're also, largely unlikeable.

I'd probably pick The Age of Discretion as my favourite of the three. She's the less unlikeable of the three, though she's certainly flawed. I was sympathetic towards her wrestling with love for her child who's taken a political job in an office where they're far on the opposite political spectrum as herself. I mean, yes, love for a child should be unconditional, but de Beauvoir brings up a provocative question about how to love without respect. 

The second novella I struggled with. Largely this was due to it being written in a stream of consciousness style and while I respect that from a technical standpoint, I've always personally found it hard to understand what's going on. I understood at least enough to know that it was the ramblings of one of the most bitter characters I've ever encountered. 

The third was in an epistolary style (diary entries) and much easier to read. It was as frustrating beyond belief. I woman agrees to a let her husband have an affair and then winds up regretting. It's fine as the beginning to a plot, but it never really progresses past that, just wallows deeper and deeper in misery. The husband's an entitled dick and the wife needs some self-respect.

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