THE RISE OF SIMON LACHAUME by Maurice Druon

THE RISE OF SIMON LACHAUME

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KIRKUS REVIEW

It is amazing that a book which concerns itself with the vices, perversities and amours of the Parisian haute monde at the end of the first World War can manage to be so dull and lifeless. With material like this, one is naturally reminded of Proust, but one need not read far to realize that without the sustained fury of his indignation or the unequalled benefits of his insight the material is as tawdry as the gossip whispered by an ancient beldams. The story is only indirectly connected with the Simon Lachaume of the title and is in the main devoted to the fortunes of the wealthy families of de la Monnerie and Schouldier who have been united by marriage. Lachaume, a nobody is summoned to the deathbed of de la Monnerie, a famous poet who becomes his powerful benefactor. On the eve of the funeral, Lachaume visits the poet's ex-mistress and becomes her lover, and this is the first of many such steps which lead to his bid for the hand of the poet's niece. A good part of the book is devoted to the doings and designs of the families' arch lecher, Lucien Maublanc, who out of sheer malice contrives to ruin one branch of the family and so implements the suicide of its most thoroughly decent member. His exceedingly fatuous vanity leads him to believe that he has (at 57) impregnated a vicious little demimondaine, who is enjoying a Lesbian love affair, but when he realizes that she has fooled him he loses his reason in an asylum..... An unscented nosegay of scandal with limited powers of seduction.

Pub Date: Aug. 29th, 1952
Publisher: Dutton