Title: Strolling (Also known as A Stroll)
Date Read: 19th April 2010
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: Following the same humdrum routine day after day, ledger-clerk Monsieur Leras’ mood lifts one sunny Spring evening when he decides to take a stroll along the Parisian boulevards.
Afterthoughts: If you’re the kind of reader who thinks that short stories don’t have any depth or substance then this one will convince you otherwise. This is a superbly crafted tale from Maupassant and it’s one which takes the reader on a roller-coaster ride of emotion. What begins as a rather woeful story soon becomes something a lot more uplifting, for a while at least. Then the rug is well and truly pulled from under the reader’s feet, leaving him/her as forlorn as the main character himself.
Notable Quote: When Old Man Leras, bookkeeper for Messieurs Labuze and Company, left the store, he stood for a minute bewildered at the glory of the setting sun. He had worked all day in the yellow light of a small jet of gas, far in the back of the store, on a narrow court, as deep as a well. The little room where he had been spending his days for forty years was so dark that even in the middle of summer one could hardly see without gaslight from eleven until three.
*Story read as part of my Devouring De Maupassant reading challenge.