The first Maupassant novel I’ve read.
Having enjoyed his stories immensely, I was not surprised I enjoyed this longer work. The easiest comparison is Chekhov. But this tale is a romantic one, about the amassing of wealth, the ambitions of a greedy set of upper-crust mustache-grooming gentlemen and perfume-spritzing ladies. A bit of high and low, aftertaste of Balzac, without some of the of frills of Zola. Verging on 5 stars, but in the end, a too-familiar plot. Plenty of eye-popping descriptions, chortle-worthy dialogue, and reversals, much come-uppance, some squandered boons, reckless speculations, and everywhere, simply everywhere, a flagrant disregard for proper money management. The lesson seems to be: enjoy all things in moderation, especially vices.