Camille by Alexandre Dumas fils

I love Camille and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s become one of my favorite books. I had seen the Greta Garbo movie version of Camille and I can honestly say that the novel is more heartbreaking. Alexandre Dumas fils’s writing was excellent and his tale of thwarted love is timeless.

Camille is set in 1840s Paris. A young courtesan, Marguerite Gautier, has died and although she was once the most sought-after courtesan in Paris she died of consumption without any of her rich friends or benefactors by her side. It seems everyone has forgotten Marguerite except for Armand Duval, a young man who has countless camellias sent to her grave. The novel goes back to when Armand and Marguerite were in love and willing to risk everything to be together. Fate got in the way and led to the beautiful courtesan’s dying alone.

The writing style was interesting and very well done. Much like in Wuthering Heights and The Great Gatsby, the narrator was a minor character who played little part in the action. In fact, the narrator of Camille didn’t even have a name. Also like Wuthering Heights, the narration changes hand when Armand tells the story of him and Marguerite. Still another part of the novel is told from Margeurite’s perspective. Dumas wove these stories within stories together so skillfully that the different voices never felt forced. Camille is a classic you should definitely read.

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