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.