Author: Pierre-Ambroise Choderlos de Laclos
“In the two hundred years since its original publication, Les Liaisons Dangereuses has provoked, on the one hand, shock and censorship, and on the other, the admiration of readers as different as Marie Antoinette, Andre Gide, and Charles Baudelaire. The story it tells of the intrigues of a pair of sexually carnivorous aristocrats in pre-Revolutionary France has yet to lose a particle of its power to disturb our moral peace.”
My need to read this book came from my love (or obsession) with the 1988 Stephen Frears film, Dangerous Liaisons. I watched that movie my senior of high school and haven’t stopped singing it’s praises since. An amazing film like that had to be based on an even better book, right? 100% right. I’m hard-pressed to decide whether the book or the movie was better. I have so much love for both.
The book is written as a collection of letters from the “players” of the novel that tell the story through their points of view. Despite being a translation of 18th century French, the book was pretty easy to comprehend. Yeah, the passages were prone to run on sentences and slightly foreign phrases, but I still understood what was going on even I didn’t recognize a word.
Surprisingly my favorite part of the book was the fact that there were really no heroes. Everyone was a victim of Merteuil and Valmont in some way. It’s nice to read a story that doesn’t have a happy ending sometimes, just an ending.
Merteuil and Valmont were raging bitches but it was fun to see how much effort they put into ruining people’s lives. It’s honestly the type of shit that only a rich white woman have to time to cook up if I’m being honest. And even though the footnote at the end of the book found their consequences the weakest part of the book, I thought it was just.
All in all, Dangerous Liaisons is 400 pages of a petty rich white woman nonsense. Merteuil would be a force to reckon with on The Real Housewives of Anything. Read this book and feel better about yourself for not being this terrible.