Title: The Inn
Date Read: 09 January 2012
Available Online?: YES
Briefly: The guides Gaspard Hari and Ulrich Kunsi and their dog, Sam, are left to caretake the Inn of Schwarenbach, while the owners spend winter in the village of Loèche far below. All begins well, until the old guide Hari sets out one morning to hunt for food.
Afterthoughts: This is rather a lengthy tale from Maupassant but it’s one well worth sticking with. It’s a story much in the same vein as what I like to call Maupassant’s ‘terror tales’ – stories such as The Horla and The Terror – where the protagonist is terrorised by the unseen. Interestingly, Maupassant stayed in Loèche (known in Switzerland as Leukerbad) for a spell in 1877 as part of treatment for the herpetic condition that plagued his life. What this says about his impression of the Swiss town heaven only knows, but it’s interesting to note that he writes a story set in a place which would have evoked memories of his illness, which has the same dark and foreboding theme as the later(?) stories he wrote while in a state of suffering. This story has a feeling like the others, suggesting that it was penned by a tortured mind.
Notable Quote: “The two men and the dog remain till the spring in their snowy prison, with nothing before their eyes except the immense white slopes of the Balmhorn, surrounded by light, glistening summits, and are shut in, blocked up and buried by the snow which rises around them and which envelops, binds and crushes the little house, which lies piled on the roof, covering the windows and blocking up the door.”
*Story read as part of my Devouring De Maupassant reading challenge.