It’s one of the worst books I’ve ever read. When I was a kid I liked Pere Goriot and Eugenie Grandet, and I managed to get thru Lost Illusions. I thought I was toughened up to Balzac’s eccentricities. But Girl is a disaster. It could have been a one-page “Ribald Tale,” or whatever Playboy used to call that feature it ran in the old days. Instead it’s a bloated novella that gets dumber as it goes on. It’s the kind of “classic” that makes you think nobody back then could do anything right.

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