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The Beauty Stealers by Pascal Bruckner

I read this book in a few hours! The Beauty Stealers  (original name Les Voleurs de Beauté, published in 1996) by Pascal Bruckner is an original and rough book, which presents the game of power between women and men, and most of all, the game of power between beautiful and ugly. The idea is extremely new (at least to me), it is strange, pessimistic, violent and sometimes just scary and the writing style is definitely french.

The novel is structured on 2 main stories: Helene & Benjamin’s story and Mathilde & Ferdinand’s. In the first couple, Helene is the one who has all the control and in the second one – the dominant one is Ferdinand.
The story line is amazing twisted: Benjamin meets Mathilde at the hospital, where she is the psychiatrist on call. He reveals his sad story of how he meat 3 awful people; they believed that beauty is a capital crime and did their best to eradicate it. They would hold beautiful girls in their basement for up to 2 years, until they became scared and mentally traumatized, then just release them to live as an ugly person. He is forced to help them retain other beautiful girls as they have Helene hostage. Mathilde just broke up with Ferdinand, she got tired of his erotic cravings, She herd story and was convinced by the idea that she should also be sacrificed because she was beautiful. At this point the story twists again and the ending is quite unexpected.
I felt that the book doesn’t have the classic positive/negative characters structure. All the heroes did awful things, or were witnessing awful things and did nothing, this makes me believe that this book has only anti-heroes. I couldn’t pick any favorites or someone to relate to, only cowards and crazy people in this book!
None of them tried to fight the obstacles they meat, none of them had any power or initiative. They struggled a little and then just accepted what was happening to them.
This book made me mad sooo many times: it reflects what a disturbed view has society towards beauty, life, family, dignity and career. People that are obsessed with the idea of getting old and losing the only things that made them special: physical beauty.
There is no place for love in this book. If it exists it’s just lust or it’s only a game of power or just a coincidence because the character didn’t have another object to reflect his/her influence.
Nobody has any principles: Mathilde mocks her patients in her mind, Benjamin copies all the lines of his book from dead authors, the Steiner family believes it is not fair that they’re old and other girls are beautiful and young… It pains me to think that this book is a reflection of our times :(.
I definitely recommend this book, it is strange, the writing style is close to french lethargic and the plot is very interesting!


November 17, 2012 Posted by | Book reviews | , , , , | 2 Comments


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