Mad Shadows

Mad Shadows A harrowing pathology of the soul Mad Shadows centres on a family group Patrice the beautiful and narcissistic son his ugly and malicious sister Isabelle Marie and Louise their vain and uncomprehe

  • Title: Mad Shadows
  • Author: Marie-Claire Blais Merloyd Lawrence
  • ISBN: 9780771091780
  • Page: 178
  • Format: Paperback
  • A harrowing pathology of the soul, Mad Shadows centres on a family group Patrice, the beautiful and narcissistic son his ugly and malicious sister, Isabelle Marie and Louise, their vain and uncomprehending mother These characters inhabit an amoral universe where beauty reflects no truth and love is an empty delusion Each character is ultimately annihilated by their owA harrowing pathology of the soul, Mad Shadows centres on a family group Patrice, the beautiful and narcissistic son his ugly and malicious sister, Isabelle Marie and Louise, their vain and uncomprehending mother These characters inhabit an amoral universe where beauty reflects no truth and love is an empty delusion Each character is ultimately annihilated by their own obsessions.Acclaimed and reviled when it exploded on the Quebec literary scene in 1959, Mad Shadows initiated a new era in Quebec fiction.

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      Posted by:Marie-Claire Blais Merloyd Lawrence
      Published :2018-07-21T04:05:44+00:00

    1 thought on “Mad Shadows”

    1. Very strange yet gripping story; Mad Shadows is a Canadian novel telling of a blatantly dysfunctional family in a powerful and unforgettable way.

    2. I know that I'm supposed to consider the author's flat, detached, distant style, and the resulting incomprehensibility of the characters, to be a mark of depth, even genius. But I am a big girl now, and Lawrence Perrine is not the boss of me, so I will say without apology that this book left me cold. It's like the author is crouched at the lip of the abyss in which these characters are trapped, squinting down at them, inventing reasons for them to do what they appear to be doing, and occasionall [...]

    3. I've probably read this book over half a dozen times. It's a quick read that always leaves me feeling uneasy. There is nothing beautiful in this world. The breadth of sorrow is breathtaking.

    4. This gruesome novel published in 1959 about a dysfunctional family comprised of a narcissistic son, a spiteful sister and a nasty mother was the first cannon shot in a barrage that his continued ever since showing us the ugly side of domestic life in today's North America. A relative of Ms. Blais once told me that anyone who had ever know her family would be inclined to forgive her for the extraordinarily nasty tone that has characterized all her fiction. This is a great pioneering work for a du [...]

    5. This book I read in about 14 hours, 6 of which were in a bar where I was frequently paraphrasing the ensuing action to my companion. He would come back and say, "What's happening now?" and I'd say, "Well, the boy who is the personification of beauty is about to get in an Oedipal struggle with the father figure, who walks with a golden CANE, and the mother's vanity has given her face cancer that she is trying to conceal with makeup, and the "ugly" girl is beginning a relationship in the green wor [...]

    6. This book feels like a fairy tale. It is about a family that loves only beauty and is abhorred by ugliness. This leads to a hollow life for most members of the family. However, one person was perceived as ugly and was rejected. This leads to several violent events that destroy the family. I am not sure what I think of the story, but it will be discussed in class in a few weeks.

    7. I find it hard to enjoy books in which I dislike every single character. You'd think that since I disliked all the characters in Mad Shadows I would be happy at the end, but seeing them self-destruct wasn't satisfying, it was just depressing.

    8. Once upon a time there stood an evil farm where Hatred, Vanity and Vengeance ruled Marie-Claire Blais's La Belle Bête reads easy, but offers its reader no comfort, as the world of this Quebec author is cold and frightening. The characters are torn away by their passions, but the only true feelings here are hatred and envy, any positive feelings are either fake or selfish or borne by people who are either blind or mad (i. e. mentally blind). Physical beauty is one of the central themes (as the t [...]

    9. French-Canadian author, Marie-Claire Blais, is acclaimed for her fresh approach to Quebec fiction. Also considered a feminist form of literature in 1959, torching the traditional fiction of mid-century Canada. The afterword by Daphne Marlatt is enlightening.

    10. I read this book for school. I would love to read it in the original French, I feel a little bit of the affect must be lost in translation. Either way, it is a short quick read with lots of interesting images and ideas to explore.

    11. Very boring, would have never read Mad Shadows if it wasn't for my French class. (view spoiler)[The story takes place in Quebec before the Révolution Tranquille. It’s the story of Louise, Patrice and Isabelle-Marie, a mother and her two children. She does only like her son for his divine beauty and refuses to see his profound intellectual deficiency and soullessness. Isabelle-Marie, extremely ugly and jealous of her brother, cannot any longer bear the injustice that her mother inflicts upon h [...]

    12. In his preface to the 1971 New Canadian Library edition of Québécoise writer Marie-Claire Blaise's debut novel, Mad Shadows (French La belle bête), Naim Kattan starts his discussion by noting that, when first published in 1959, the fact that it was a taboo-breaking novel written by a young woman led people to class her as one with Françoise Sagan. Kattan is right to point out that Mad Shadows has to be seen in the context of a Québécois society that, before the Quiet Revolution of the 1960 [...]

    13. I liked it overall. Although the novel, as a whole, is amateurish, it has many interesting themes. The novel rejects certain conventions and norms. Sincere love is completely absent and beauty does not equal goodness. Blais plays with the binary of the beautiful and the ugly, portraying both as capable of behaving in ugly ways and becoming ugly. In fact, in the end, the boundary between the beautiful and ugly merges. Also of significance in this novel is Isabelle-Marie's intentional burning of t [...]

    14. Not exactly a feel-good read, but a fast and interesting one. Mad Shadows is very difficult to describe without pretension or grandiosity, because it really is a story about the meaning of lofty concepts like beauty, ugliness, envy, vanity, family, and yes, love and hate. Actually, it's a far more direct examination of those ideas than most books that receive this sort of description. The three main characters are portrayed as Greek gods as much as real beings, Patrice overtly so. Although they [...]

    15. Version française; La belle bêtePublié en 1959, c'est le premier roman de l'auteur. Le succès de cette première oeuvre l'incitera à faire carrière en littérature et à s'y consacrer totalement.Thème: la beautéRésumé: Louise, riche propriétaire terrienne, dorlote son fils Patrice, véritable Adonis. Cependant alors que son fils chéri est bête, elle délaisse sa fille Isabelle-Marie qui est laide.Ton: On passe d'une certaine naïveté au mélodrame et au tragique. C'est sombre, noir [...]

    16. Mad Shadows is by far my favourite Canadian novel. Technically it's a novella since it is so short, but every page; every sentence matters. It always surprises me that this book, as all Blais' books was originally published in French. Either the translation was masterfully done or Blais' work transcends language barriers flawlessly.Mad Shadows is both deeply symbolic and viscerally obvious. In such a short read your sympathy for the characters switches and re-aligns so many times you'd think you [...]

    17. A shocking book to the über roman catholic Quebecers in 1959. It's allegories subverting patriarchy, religion the family make for fascinating reading. The use of irony was on par with poetic language used to describe the souless. Woth a rural canadian setting, it overthrows the rural canadian values. In class it was described as fairy-tale like. Consider the french title, The Beautiful Beast, sounds fairy-tale-like! With a close-ish reading one could see the parallels with snow white and cinder [...]

    18. Oh, my, this was godawful! I read it for my French Literature in Translation Course. A lot of the reading for that course is godawful, but the instructor makes some meaning out of it vis a vis French culture (and it usually involves the Catholic Church) and we have a good discussion on life experiences because it is for 55+ aged people who have great this to say anyway. But, this book was still godawful!

    19. I love Marie-Claire Blais' writing but find that so much of what I love got lost in this translation. I don't know whether it's just the downside of having previously enjoyed her in the original French and finding any translation lacking, or if the issue is with this particular translation. It's still a short gorgeous burst of a book to read, although I look forward to tracking down the original in French and suspect I'd rate the latter higher.

    20. A famous Quebecois story that focuses on the dynamic of one family. A mother and her two children, a beautiful son and an ugly daughter and how her vanity damages this family. You want to empathize with these characters but sometimes you can't.A short story that feels even shorter because you blaze through it. A definite recommendation if you want to read more Canadian fiction.

    21. The children's fable, "The Ugly Duckling" is reinvented with disturbing complexity. The beautiful are at the mercy of the ugly here. The wicked soul, as the ancients would have believed, is visible on the outer case of the villainous sister. The superficial set up their own destruction here. A tragedy spun with the macabre to its memorable conclusion.

    22. Not quite a 3, but not a 4. Mad Shadows was really intriguing and uniquely written. I appreciated Blais' narrative innovation, but the "surreal" portions distracted from what could've been a more potent story.

    23. That was rough. Three very miserable people treating each other miserably for the duration. There was much psychological violence and abuse couple with physical violence. I was anxious the whole time.

    24. Je ne pouvais pas arrêter de lire. Le texte est tellement beau. Je voulais juste m'approcher un peu de la littérature québécoise et je suis content d'avoir choisi ce roman. La tristesse m'a envahi tout au long de cette histoire, toujours belle. Je me suis trop attaché à Patrice. Magnifique !

    25. I had to read this for school, and all I remember is being particularly bored with the plot, or lack thereof. For all I know, it could be a wonderful piece. But I got bored and stopped paying attention after a while.

    26. I read this a long time ago(in the 80's)-- it was very strange, unsettling, and I don't even knoiw if I LIKED it(the characters were horrible people as I remember)I would like to find it again to read it once more.

    27. i totally forgot how much i LOVED LOVED LOVED this book until my professor mentioned it last night. i will have to go back to read it again to see if my enthusiasm was as strong as it was in highschoolobably. not.

    28. Roman très sombre où les relations humaines sont cruelles et assassines. Lecture facile et courte. Thème : amour, beauté, jalousie, destruction

    29. Un de les romans que j'ai lu pour ameliorer mon Français, La Belle Bête était une surprise merveilleuse. Plein de poésie et métaphore, cette histoire de cruauté continue de me hante.

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