"What a glorious find! Here is a tale of strange and wonderful passions, mystery, intrigue, and the dark night of the soul. In this fresh and fluent translation, Balzac's masterful depiction of our human comedy proves once again that this giant of the nineteenth-century novel will always remain among the most modern of writers."
"Smartly paced, passionately full of Parisian excitement, this brisk new translation proves that the
French master never lost his powerful, teeming urgency. Balzac's last novel deserves its posthumous place in La Comédie humaine."
"Baudelaire was surprised that Balzac's reputation depended on passing for an "observer"; for me
, the poet said of the novelist, his great virtue lies in the fact that he was a visionary, a passionate visionary
. Such a judgment brings us, not face to face but as in a glass darkly, to the Master's last, flagrantly figmentary fiction, wonderfully titled in English to form the revelatory equation: Paris = history
. Mr. Stump has again triumphed over his material, which means that the material here stands forth in all its messy, enthralling richesse
, and with excellent notes into the bargain
, as Balzac would say."