Friday, February 19, 2010

Naked in the Marketplace: The Lives of George Sand by Benita Eisler

After reading Chopin's Funeral by Benita Eisler, I had really high expectations for Naked in the Marketplace: The Lives of George Sand. Perhaps, I expected too much from the book about the prolific French novelist, which may be considered a companion volume to the book about Sand's most famous lover. I thought Eisler would be just as creative in her telling of Sand's story. Starting Chopin's story with his death and funeral was a dramatic begining that set a tone for the whole book. Her telling of Sand's story, while at times full of events and famous people, was never as compelling. The French novelist's life seemed to be just one thing after another.

Perhaps writing about Chopin was easier. He was a more identifiable character with steadier beliefs, and he matured. Sand was a maddeningly variable character who never really defined herself well. She was at moments an aristrocrat and at others a commoner, sometimes radical and then conservative. She was just as unfair to her daughter as her mother was to her. For someone who seemed full of compassion, she never seemed to see her own faults and how they hurt others. I found her constant changing of lovers rather dull and self-centered. From what Eisler describes, I have no desire to read any of Sand's books.

You might feel different. Perhaps I was just the wrong reader.

As I said, I really enjoyed Chopin's Funeral, which somehow seemed more joyful.

Eisler, Benita. Naked in the Marketplace: The Lives of George Sand. Counterpoint, 2006. ISBN 9781582433496.

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