The Crown

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Book at Bedtime - Cousin Bette

From Monday the 2nd of January 2012, Alex will be reading the book at bedtime on Radio 4, on weeknights at 10.45 pm.

A tale of seductive women and philandering men, of passionate affairs and spiralling debts, Cousin Bette paints a vivid portrait of Paris in the 1830s and '40s. It's a city full of temptations, in which money is king, morals are loose and the appeals of the virtuous are usually in vain. In the midst of it all sits a poor relation, Cousin Bette, like a spider in her web. Fuelled by bitterness and jealousy, she is determined to weave destruction into the lives of her extended family, the socially superior Hulots.

With her friend and accomplice, the beautiful Madame Marneffe, Bette sets out to manipulate events so that men are brought to their knees and their wives to despair, and she attains the power and prestige she seeks.
Cousin Bette was written in less than a year, in serial instalments, often only completed just before the deadline. Within its pages, Balzac conjures a kaleidoscope of characters from all walks of life, chronicles the rise of a grasping bourgeoisie and tells a gripping tale of jealousy, passion and treachery.

Many thanks to Jen.

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