Audiobook: Lost Illusions: Ève and David


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Ève and David (1843) is the final book in Balzac’s Lost Illusions trilogy, which is part of his sweeping set of novels collectively titled La Comédie Humaine. The story is set in post-Napoleonic France. In the first volume of the trilogy (Two Poets, 1837), we meet Lucien Chardon, an aspiring poet frustrated by the pettiness of provincial life. In the second volume (A Distinguished Provincial at Paris, 1839) Lucien, now using the more aristocratic-sounding surname "de Rubempré," leaves his family in order to seek fame and fortune in the literary world of Paris. By the end of that book, he faced imminent emotional and financial collapse.

In this present volume, the reader is returned to the provincial town of Angoulême, where Lucien's sister Ève and her husband, Lucien's friend David, have been desperately struggling against clever competition to keep a their printing shop afloat. Their situation is complicated when Lucien's financial distress spills over into their lives.

Balzac’s work was hugely influential in the development of realism in fiction. The Lost Illusions trilogy is one of his greatest achievements, and is named in the reference work 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. (Summary by Bruce Pirie)

Other volumes in this series:
Lost Illusions: Two Poets
Lost Illusions: A Distinguished Provincial at Paris
The story of Lucien de Rubempré continues in the sequel, Scenes from a Courtesan's Life

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