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About the book
  • Published: 15 October 2009
  • ISBN: 9781590172605
  • Imprint: NY Review Books
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • RRP: $26.99
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Alien Hearts


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Alien Hearts was the last novel that Guy de Maupassant completed before succumbing to the effects of tertiary syphilis of which he was to die at forty-three. It is the most original and surprising of his novels and the one in which he attains a truly tragic perception of the wounded human heart. Alien Hearts is the story of lovers bound by bitterness as much as by passion. Maupassant’s hero falls for a woman of the world, a glacially dazzling beauty whose past with an abusive husband leads her to hold him–and everyone–at arm’s length. He seeks solace with a servant girl, but remains racked by pointless infatuation.

Richard Howard’s new English version of this complex and brooding psychological novel reveals the final, unexpected flowering of the great French realist’s art.

  • Pub date: 15 October 2009
  • ISBN: 9781590172605
  • Imprint: NY Review Books
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • RRP: $26.99

About the Author

Guy De Maupassant

Guy de Maupassant was born in Normandy in 1850. At his parents' separation he stayed with his mother, who was a friend of Flaubert. As a young man he was lively and athletic, but the first symptoms of syphilis appeared in the late 1870s. By this time Maupassant had become Flaubert's pupil in the art of prose. On the publication of the first short story to which he put his name, 'Boule de suif', he left his job in the civil service and his temporary alliance with the disciples of Zola at Médan, and devoted his energy to professional writing. In the next eleven years he published dozens of articles, nearly three hundred stories and six novels, the best known of which are A Woman's LifeBel-Ami and Pierre and Jean. He led a hectic social life, lived up to his reputation for womanizing and fought his disease. By 1889 his friends saw that his mind was in danger, and in 1891 he attempted suicide and was committed to an asylum in Paris, where he died two years later.

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