PSYCHE 59 by Francoise des Ligneris


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Set in Brittany and Paris, this is an odd and curiously inconclusive novel of domination and duplicity. Mahaut, the granddaughter of a Marquise, married to the remote and godlike Eric, the son of peasants, has been blind for seven years of her marriage. Believing her chances of recovery to be slight and assured by her husband that her affliction has become endearing Mahaut has resigned herself to a submissive and totally dependent existence. It is through the discovery of one of Eric's several affairs that Mahaut begins to escape from the oppressive love which had bound her to a man she had actually never known. The denouement is eerily worked out in the Marquise's storm-beset Breton country house when Mahaut, who has kept her cure a secret from Eric, is able to observe the beginnings of the tumultuous love affair between her husband and her highly distraught younger sister. Free, finally, of the weight of Eric's overwhelming presence, Mahaut leaves the country house, astounding the lovers with the shock of her recovery. An interesting, peculiar book in which the clear and intense writing does not succeed in the creation of character.

Pub Date: Nov. 6th, 1959
Publisher: Criterion