Title: Simon’s Dad
Date Read: 25th January 2009
Available Online?: YES (although read for this review was the David Coward translation of the story in A Day in the Country and Other Stories (Oxford University Press)).
Briefly: It’s Simon’s first day at school in a small French village. Lunchtime arrives and he soon finds himself surrounded by the other boys. They’ve heard a rumour that he doesn’t have a father, and they want to find out if it’s true or not.
Afterthoughts: When read on a simple level this story is actually not too bad. But it’s when one sits back and thinks about it, that one realises just how ludicrous and unrealistic this tale really is. I’m all for forgoing a believable storyline if it’s done in order to deliver a strong moral message, but unfortunately this story doesn’t have one of those either. Maybe I’m just being harsh, because is in all fairness there are a couple of beautifully painted scene descriptions which make the story stand out. But I usually expect, and receive, a lot better from Maupassant, so ultimately this tale is not one of favourites.
Notable Quote: Then he felt a great sinking in his heart. They were stronger than he was, they had beaten him, and he had no answer to give them, for he knew well that it was true that he had no papa. Full of pride, he attempted for some moments to struggle against the tears which were choking him. He had a feeling of suffocation, and then without any sound he commenced to weep, with great shaking sobs.
*Story read as part of my Devouring De Maupassant reading challenge.