Sarrasine - Honore de Balzac

This is the second piece by Balzac that I’ve read within the past several months, and I think I can say that I particularly enjoy his style, overall, as well as the ideas he weaves into his stories. “Sarrasine” however fell shorter than “Pere Goriot” for me, although I did warm up to it gradually over the course of the novella as I began to piece more details together and understand the significances. The main issue I had with it was that it felt incomplete. It easily could’ve been expanded, at least a little more, so that aspects like Madame Rochefide, to whom the narrator tells the story of Sarrasine and La Zambinella. It was a lovely work, and although I wasn’t thrilled with it in the very beginning when I started reading, Balzac does a great job of expanding the details in order to cover more ideas and draw the reader in. The best aspect was the reflection of Parisian society, addressed both directly and indirectly, whether it was the narrator outright stating that in Paris, the Lantys’ possible gypsy heritage would be overlooked due to their high standing, or the moment when the old man accompanying Marianina is described, the most memorable aspect being the way his breath is described as musky, compared to the “old dresses duchesses take out of their closets while doing inventory”. It was a beautiful novella whose only shortcoming was, in my opinion, its length, thus preventing me from appreciating it as much as it deserves to be.