There are many inaccurate claims about the size of Balzac’s Grand cycle of literary works, La Comedie Humaine, making it seem simply to large to undertake. In fact many book bloggers could finish it in under three months.
Here is the breakdown
25 Short Stories
I have as of now completed 82 of the 91 works.
Included in La Comedie Humaine are about five novels you will rightfully find on 100 greatest novels lists, several very good novellas and short stories. You will also find works you are bored with but in every work there is something of real value. Balzac is the ultimate chronicler of Paris, from the highest levels of society, exposing shady dealings, to the poorest of Paris. He is a genius at descriptions, knows the cost of everything and the reputation of every district. His cultural influence is simply huge. The only practicable way to read him is in an E book. The disadvantage is the translations are old.
When he feels like it Balzac is a master of compression. In “Z. Marcas” we learn, through the eyes of two impecunious Parisian students about their mysterious neighbour. Marcas lives in poverty. We gradually learn he has a doctorate in law and was an advisor to a powerful government minister. He and the students become friends.
I hope to finish this project by April 1, 2018.