A stupendous shit and an incorrigible cad.
Not the first sign of madness, but the protagonist Georges Duroy.
His blatantly ironic nickname, Bel-Ami, typifies the duplicity coursing through this deliciously unsettling book.
His secret to success in four words? Use your wily willy. Five? Erm. Get off to get on.
Well, well, old boy, I hope you realise you really do hit it off with the ladies? You must cultivate that. It could take you far… they’re still the quickest way to succeed.
And boy, does he slather on the ‘charm’. It’s a shame to see it abused so. And the trust that goes with it. Makes you shiver.
But before we look at some gems, let’s put down a marker and reflect on author Laurie Lee’s sense of pure charm (from his excellent 1975 collection of essays, I Can’t Stay Long).Continue reading Bel-Ami by Guy de Maupassant (1885)