Blog Archives

Wordless Wednesday: American Soldier in France


What-Soldiers-editPic from here


Join Wordless Wednesday here.

Happy Wednesday.


[Book Review] The Red and the Black by Stendhal


Title: The Red and the Black
Original Title: Le Rouge et le Noir
Author: Stendhal
Publisher: Signet Classics
Published: June 6th, 2006 (First Published 1830)
ISBN: 0451530284
Language: English
Format: Paperback
No. of Pages: 544
Category: Classic Literature/Fiction/Historical Fiction/Romance
Setting: France

Book Blurb:

In December 1827, a French newspaper ran a story about a young man charged with the attempted murder of a married woman. The article fired the imagination of Marie Henri Beyle, and under the pen name Stendhal, he set to writing what was to become one of the great psychological novels of all time. “I will be famous around 1880,” he predicted in one of his many diaries. “I shall not go out of style, nor my glory go out of style.”

Set in a provincial French town and in Paris, The Red and the Black tells the story of Julien Sorel, a handsome and brilliant young tutor who is both hero and villain. Cold, opportunistic, and uncompromising with others—including his influential mistress—he follows his lust for power and wealth. At the same time, he is tortured by his uncontrollable passions, and by the military and religious forces—the enigmatic “Red” and “Black”—that dominate French society in the years following the Revolution.


I didn’t pay much attention to classics. When I was in college, I hated literature class because the lecturer was obsessed with Shakespeare and I was tortured inside out. I was skeptical and in my mind, classics were boring and torturing, it’s a waste of time.

The Red and the Black proved me wrong. I was hooked. The story is gripping, the words were crafted beautifully, and the characters are memorable. It’s more tragic than the infamous Romeo and Juliet in some ways.

Julien was ambitious and willing to do anything to reach the top. He was enthralled by the bourgeois’ lifestyle and was obsessed to be part of them.

He started with teaching Madame de Rênal’s children and ended up hooking up with her. They broke up because some circumstances force them to.

Then Julien went back to school to study. Again, he was determined to be number one. Later, he found out about the dirty tricks inside the church.

He was offered to work for Monsieur de la Mole in Paris, and he fell in love with Mathilde, his daughter. Mathilde was one sick lady who was obsessed with the story of Margret. I don’t want to spill this part because this is the hint which leads to the tragic (or engrossing) ending.

The Red and the Black was set in France after the fall of Napoleon/post-revolutionary in France where noblemen reigned and church began to spread its power.

Julien is the perfect portrayal of a normal human being who has good and bad sides. It’s like you’re dealing with personal demons but deep inside you know what’s the right thing to do.
He might be complicated and dangerous, but in the end I have sympathy for him. (Now playing Sympathy for the Devil).

The Red and the Black is the best classics reading so far. Why is it underrated?


I’d like to see the movie. Hope Tubeplus has the English subtitle for this.

Fave quotes:

“A good book is an event in my life.”
“Our true passions are selfish.”
“Indeed, man has two different beings inside him. What devil thought of that malicious touch?”

If I were a director:


Ian Somerhalder would be perfect for Julien Sorel. He’s handsome, and just look at his smirk. He’s good at being bad.


I can’t think of anybody else to play Louise de Rênal. Marcia Cross is Louise.


Elisa is Louise’s maid who fell in love with Julien. She’s wicked, full of rage and definitely jealous that Julien loves Louise. Mila Kunis would be perfect.


Aimee Teegarden as Mathilde de la Mole. Snotty, spoiled, and obsessed with Margret’s story. It would be interesting to cast her as a troubled lady.


Monsieur de Rênal. Prototype of the provincial petty aristocracy, the wealthy mayor of Verrières.


Richard Gere as Abbé Chélan, Julien’s first mentor.


Donald Sutherland as Old Sorel, the greedy old scumbag who’s interested earning Julien’s inheritance.



[Book Review] The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier


Judul: The Lady and the Unicorn
Penulis: Tracy Chevalier
Penerbit: Gramedia Pustaka Utama
ISBN: 979-22-2520-X
Kategori: Fiksi terjemahan
Genre: Historical fiction
Jumlah halaman: 295
Terbit: Februari 2007
Beli di Gramedia WTC Serpong

Book Blurb:

Jean le Viste, bangsawan Paris abad ke-15 yang dekat dengan Raja, menyuruh Nicholas de Innocents, seniman berbakat yang juga perayu wanita ukung, membuat desain permadani dinding untuk merayakan kenaikan statusnya dalam lingkaran kerajaan.

Nicolas sempat ragu karena belum pernah membuat desain permadani. Tapi setelah bertemu putri sulung Jean le Viste dan istri bangsawan itu, dia berubah pikiran. Meski tahu keinginannya terlalu berbahaya, Nicolas terlanjur terobsesi. Dia pun menuangkan semuanya dalam enam lukisan Lady dan Unicorn.

Di Brussels, Georges de la Chapelle, penenun yang sedang naik daun, memutuskan menerima proyek Jean le Viste. Menuangkan desain-desain Nicolas menjadi permadani merupakan tantangan terbesar dalam karirnya. Tantangan yang memaksanya mempertaruhkan segala yang penting: kelangsungan hidup bengkel tenun dan keluarganya.

Cover The Lady and the Unicorn klasik banget. Perpaduan warna merah dan emas, juga gambar Lady-nya sudah mewakili isi bukunya. Very medieval. Kedua, nama penulisnya yang nggak asi di telinga. Gue belum pernah baca karya Tracy Chevalier sebelumnya, tapi gue punya beberapa bukunya yang belum dibaca (shame on me). Terus, genre historical fiction adalah salah satu genre favorit. Sebisa mungkin buku-buku yang review-nya OK gue bakal baca. Dan terakhir, gue dapat buku ini di acara bazaar buku Gramedia di WTC Matahari, Serpong, kalo nggak salah.

Novel berseting tahun 1490 di Prancis ini menceritakan tentang asal mula pembuatan permadani The Lady and the Unicorn yang melegenda tersebut. Tracy Chevalier mengemas backstory tentang permadani tersebut yang juga berbuah kekacauan di Paris dan Brussels, baik keluarga bangsawan Jean le Viste maupun rakyat jelata George de la Chapelle.

The Lady and the Unicorn dimulai dengan bab dari POV Nicolas des Innocents. Gue nggak suka sama tokoh ini karena mata keranjang, oportunis dan angkuh. He’s so full of himself dan menganggap semua perempuan mudah didapat. Kalo ketemu cowok model gini, gue nggak bakal suka dari pandangan pertama, walau dia gantengnya selangit. after he made out with Claude le Viste, he went to Brussels and flirted with Alienor de la Chapelle. Disgusting.

Setelah bab Nicolas, satu per satu tokohnya berbicara. Ada Claude le Viste, putri pasangan Jean le Viste dan Genevieve de Nanterre. Claude yang menginjak usia puber tergoda oleh Nicolas yang genit, dan membuat ibunya hampir pingsan saat ajudannya, Beatrice, mengadukan kelakuan nakal Claude dengan Nicolas.

Lalu, cerita berpindah ke Brussels, di mana Nicolas dan Leon menemui tukang tenun ternama, Georges de la Chapelle. Konflik bergulir kepada Alienor, putri Georges dengan Christine yang cantik tetapi tuna netra. Alienor juga menjadi korban kegenitan Nicolas, namun Christine menghardik Nicolas dengan ketus dan memintanya untuk menjauhi Alienor. Christine dan Georges menghadapi tekanan dari Jacques Le Boeuf yang ingin meminang Alienor. Christine mendesak Alienor untuk menerima lamaran dari Jacques, namun Alienor jijik dengan bau Jacques.

Konflik bergulir hingga mengubah nasib para tokohnya.

Tokoh favorit gue adalah Philippe de la Tour. Mengingatkan gue akan Sgt. Paul Sutton yang diperankan Keanu Reeves di film A Walk in the Clouds.

Pesan moral dari buku ini: you can’t always get what you want. Para pasangan di buku ini tidak semua saling mencintai, kecuali George de la Chapelle dan istrinya, Christine.

Favorite Quotes from the Book:

“Orang akan melakukan hampir apa saja jika imbalannya uang”. Nicolas des Innocents
“Tendang saja kemaluannya supaya dia tidak bisa lagi menghamili gadis.” Maria-Celeste
“Aku lelah mengkhawatirkan apa yang akan terjadi padanya, sementara dia sendiri jelas-jelas tidak peduli pada dirinya sendiri”. Genevieve de Nanterre