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January 23, 2023


#Gide Les caves du Vatican

by NancyElin



Les caves du Vatican by André Gide by André Gide André Gide

Finish date: January 2022
Genre: novel   (mentioning 55 characters!!)
Rating: D
Review: Les caves du Vatican (ISBN: 9782070360345)

Bad news: Reading at the pace of a of snail going backwards.

Good news: I finished it! It took me 10 days.


Part 1: (pg 20) update: Narrative: an atheist-turned-believer (Anthime) on the edge of insolvency. The book is literally slow as molasses in January! Gide prides himself on finding “le mot juste” and that means it will be some outlandish, outdated word no one has heard of! That sends me back to the dictionary. I feel after reading French for the last 4 weeks…every step forward…is followed by two steps backward! #Frustrating

Part 2: (pg 70) update: Narrative: illegitimate son (Lafcadio) finally discovers his father and half brother (M. Baraglinoul, Julius). Sunday, rain, whipping wind and no cookies in the house. How did I ever continue reading A. Gide with everything against me. Gide won the Nobel Prize and of course his vocabulary reflects that: many outdated words and literary expressions. Example: once again is “à nouveau”. Gide uses “derechef”. Never read that before, ever! Motto? #KeepPushing

Part 3: (pg 100) update: Narrative: Church extortion scandal involving an imprisoned Pope. Reading speed is increasing, thank goodness. Today a Abbé Salus approaches Comtessse Saint-Prix for money. He is a con-man peddling the story that the Pope has been kidnapped by the Free Masons. Now it took me 2 sentences to say that…it took A. Gide 12 pages!!

Part 4-5: (pg 250, the end) update: Narrative part 4: …all manner of wastrels, swindlers, aristocrats, adventurers, and pickpockets.   Narrative part 5: …detective farce whereby the wrong man is apprehended, while the charmingly perverse Lafcadio goes free. Both parts were exhausting. I just kept reading and hoped at least to learn some new French words….even if I was not enraptured with the narrative. The book ends, quite literally, with a question mark…after 10 days of struggle with French words A. Gide leaves me with a question mark. #Desarçonnée = nonplussed…knocked out of my saddle.

This book is not for the fainthearted….you must REALLY want to read in French!

  • Trivia: André Gide won the Nobel Prize 1947. 

  • Trivia: André Gide is judged as greatest French writer of the 20th C.  

  • In 1914 when this was released under its original French title “Les Caves du Vatican”

  • ….it must have offended all the right people.

  • Roman Catholic Church placed his works on the Index of Forbidden Books in 1952

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jan 23 2023

    Your persistence is admirable!

    • Jan 23 2023

      Can you imagine…55 characters in just 250 pages? The main character had uncles coming out of the woodwork! I was tripping over the abbés and cardinals in Rome! Started Gide’s autobiography and thank goodness he writes in a normal reading style. I must admit Gide has an impressive vocabulary! Now to choose the next book…always fun. Thanks for you comment, Brona!


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