The Diary of a Chambermaid

3.6
I am no saint; I have known many men, and I know, by experience, all the dream, all the vileness, of which they are capable. But a man like Monsieur? " -- from THE MEMOI OF A CHAMBERMAID

The famous anarchist and art critic Octave Mirbeau ( 1848-1917) inspired three film versions ( Jean Renoir, Bunuel and Benoit Jacquot) with his often forgotten classic THE DIARY OF A CHAMBERMAID. Telling the tal of Celestine R., an amoral fisherman 's daughter whose motto is live and let live ( if you can survive), Mirbeau reveals that " when one tears away the veils and shows them naked, people 's souls give off such a pungent smell of decay. "

Badly subtitled by the publisher as part of " The Naughty French Novel Series, " it is not erotic fiction at all, but rather a literary accomplishment. Series editor John Baxter, the uthor of WE 'LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS, contributed a thoughtful introduction.
Available Languages
Original Series
Year of the Publication
Publication Date
Published February 6th 2007 by Harper Perennial (first published 1900
Original Title of the Book
Le journal d'une femme de chambre
Number of Pages
392

Community Reviews

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gave it

I usually read the source first and then watch the movie adaptation ( s), this time I could n't help myself.

It 's easies to see why Luis Buñuel adapted this ( already having directed The Exterminating Angel and later making The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie).

Then, of course, it ’ s up to you to do what you can if you can…and if you can ’ t, then you and the child can just starve, for all they care.

gave it

Mirbeau 's chambermaid, Celestine R., is an extravagant creation who lodges in the min as you plunge into his ironic and always subversive critique of French life in 1900.

The saucy Celestine is stationed with a cold, childless married couple in Normandy when she starts her diary and then, veering away from a chronological story, Mirbeau has her remembering past scenes ( and abus) with other households.

Mirbeau avoids all descriptions of sex, but soon Celestine and the sickly youth are entwined.

Easily: " with my own caresses. " Within the Norman house is a gardener-coachman named Joseph, a bright, virile, ugly man ( and raging anti-semite) who beguiles Celestine.

And yet it is difficult, and it is true. " I deplore Identity Politics and Identity Art. In this mostly forgotten novel, Mirbeau 's first-person diary of a chambermaid seems unique; he is psychologically convincing throughout.

gave it

For the most part mirbeau is an effective chronicler and cynical commentator of his times but the diary device is a lavish contrivance.He does however provide a compelling female narrator who writes awfully long and intricate observations about her employe, exposing the dirty underbelly of their high class lifestyles.

gave it

Otherwise I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

gave it

The awkwardness comes from the boo being written in 1900 but having late-80s to early 90s slang: " When I say I love you, I mean it for keeps! " FOR KEEPS??? There was also a lot of derogatory comments about other people 's bodies that were liberally sprinkled with more 90s slang and I ca n't quite remember the exact quotes but it just led to a really disjointed read.Then we have the main protagonist.

But by the end ( view spoiler) [ she 's marrying a man who kills animals in horrible ways, presumably murdered and raped a little irl in a horribly violent way, and who wants to profit off of her body.

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