THE BACHELORS by Henry de Montherlant


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Originally published in 1934 in France, this is- according to Peter Quennell who contributes an introduction now- de Montherlant's finest novel and it appears here for the first time along with a collection of his essays. (See p. 444). de Montherlant, who is perhaps more of a writer's writer, has never been too widely read in this country and probably the nature of this book is not one to assure the audience he deserves. The Bachelors tells the story of two ""grotesque failures""- ""laughable anachronisms"" known as Gog and Magog to the intimates of their family- forlorn eccentrics who have turned their backs on society which, in revenge, neglects them. They are M. Elie de Coetquidan, an older man, and his nephew Leon, the Comte de Coantre, both the leftovers of an aristocracy which is nothing and has nothing. Having lived for years with- and off of- M. de Coetquidan's sister and Leon's mother, they now- after her death which leaves them penniless- must leave their home on the Boulevard Arago. Leon, who has never worked and shows little inclination to do so, seeks ""suitable employment"", fails, and is sent away to die alone in a caretaker's cottage. Elie is boarded out.... de Montherlant, always known for his irony, has a great deal of compassion as well for these destitute, shrivelled lives, and there is the excellence of his writing, the merciless precision and patience for shrewd detail.

Publisher: Macmillan