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NOUVELLE HISTOIRE DE MOUCHETTE: Another Story of Mouchette by Georges Bernanos Kirkus Star



Publisher: Plon

This poignant story by one of the outstanding contemporary French novelists is not a sequel to the Soleil de Satan whose heroine was also named Mouchette, but there is a parallel between the novels in that each portrays a child destined to live and die in ""the same tragic solitude"". Mouchette, wild cat and vagabond, in the fourteen years of her life has known nothing save squalor and degeneracy and poverty, her father a drunkard, her mother dying from too frequent child-bearing and ill treatment. Lost in a storm -- she meets a smuggler, the first person to manifest any kindliness or solicitude toward her, but he rapes her. On this brutal framework Bernanos hangs an emotional drama of great power -- the instinctive reactions of this child, shamed, angered, who see only one issue to a conflict which is neither mental, nor moral, but primitive. Incapable of articulating her humiliation, which lies in the violation of her pride rather than her chastity, she commits suicide. Although violent in theme, there is a contrasting delicacy in the telling as well as characterization which makes the story genuine and consequently compelling.