Devouring De Maupassant: The Accursed Bread

Title: The Accursed Bread
Date Read: 10th June 2013
Available Online?: YES.
Briefly: It’s Rose’s wedding, and at the reception relations between the two families are a little awkward to say the least. The bridegroom is encouraged to perform a song to help relieve the tension, and it all goes well until he reaches the risque third verse.
Afterthoughts: Rather a standard tale from Maupassant, yet one that for all intents and purposes seems a little drawn out. Perhaps I’m missing something here but Maupassant seems to dwell in areas that do little to add to the plot, making the story overall feel extraneously padded (quite a feat in the short form). I know that Maupassant does have a tendency to go all around the houses, but he seems to particularly drag his feet with this one. No, not Maupassant’s best story by a long shot, even if he does redeem himself with a rather snappy ending that is as undeniably French as he is.
Notable Quote: “They sat down, and the wedding breakfast began, the relations sitting at one end of the table and the young people at the other. Madame Touchard, the mother, presided on the right and the bride on the left. Anna looked after everybody, saw that the glasses were kept filled and the plates well supplied. The guests evidently felt a certain respectful embarrassment at the sight of all the sumptuousness of the rooms and at the lavish manner in which they were treated. They all ate heartily of the good things provided, but there were no jokes such as are prevalent. at weddings of that sort; it was all too grand, and it made them feel uncomfortable. Old Madame Touchard, who was fond of a bit of fun, tried to enliven matters a little, and at the beginning of the dessert she exclaimed: “I say, Philip, do sing us something.” The neighbors in their street considered that he had the finest voice in all Havre.”

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

*Story read as part of my Devouring De Maupassant reading challenge.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).

Comments

  1. Hey Rob, I was just looking at your “Devouring De Maupassant” hub page, and I see that “Love: Three Pages From a Sportsman’s Book” isn’t listed there. And I happen to remember from a comment you made a while back that you’re a vegetarian. You REALLY should read “Love…” if you haven’t already. Years ago I showed that story to my (non-vegetarian) wife, and she said (choking back tears, in my possibly-unreliable recollection), “My god, no wonder you don’t eat meat if you go around reading things like that!”

    Really, it’s a tiny gem of a story, especially unforgettable to people of an animal-life-respecting bent like us.

    • Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)
      says:

      Hi Karl,
      Thanks very much for the heads up on this story. I know there are stories missing from the list, so it’s great when a good soul like you comes along to point one out to me. I’ve added the story now and will get to it in due course.

      Must admit it does sound like rather an interesting tale. To solicit such a reaction both from you and your wife is extraordinary. And interesting that it shows such sensitivities towards wildlife, given the period and the story’s French origins. I look forward to reading it, and I’ll make sure that I do so sooner rather than later.
      Happy reading
      Rob