Cousin Bette

  • by Honore de Balzac
  • Narrated by Johanna Ward
  • 16 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The Bette referred to in this magnificent novel's title is Lisbeth Fischer, an excruciatingly cunning poor relation who both depends upon and nurses a terrible grudge against the family of her beautiful cousin, Adeline. That family is slowly being ruined by the uncontrollable sexual appetites of Adeline's husband, Baron Hulot - appetites that will, in time, give Cousin Bette opportunity to exact her vengeance. Balzac described Cousin Bette as one of his "scenes of Parisian life", and it is certainly that. It offers us a hypnotic vision of that infinitely varied city during the bright, vital, scandalous, and sexually untrammeled era of King Louis-Philippe. The courtesans, swindlers, bankers, artists, murderers, detectives, and saints populating this world pass before us invested with a verve and vividness unsurpassed in the history of the novel.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


This is a delightful, witty, scathingly ironic novel of 18th century Paris. Joanna Ward raises it to even greater heights -- she is simply a wonderful narrator.
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- Tambi

Pre-code scandlous fun

A fine example of inspired professional writing. I read this book after it was mentioned in Prose's reading like a writer...and I was not disappointed. The style of writing is while florid, still engaging and accessible. The number of French clich?s is a delight to the student of language, but having a basic command of French and Paris will make the book all the more enjoying. I recommend this book as the audio backdrop for a 2 week vacation in Paris.

But, I warn the naive or moralistic that this book can be quite shocking...although never pornographic. Rich complex, although often cartoonish character studies.

Good emotional insights, and many tragic insights on the struggles of the un-attractive vs the favored and the transitory nature of both.
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- Gare

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-22-2006
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.