Monday, November 5, 2007

The Devil's Laughter

Having been so impressed with Frank Yerby's An Odor of Sanctity, I bought another one of his works: The Devil's Laughter (1953), which was set during The French Revolution. Compared with Odor of Sanctity, The Devil's Laughter was a thin book, only some 300-pages, and I hope it had more details about the French Revolution. I found myself, when reading the book, was in blank sometimes because I forgot who the Jacobins, who the Hébertists, who the Girondins, etc.

The hero was Jean Paul Marin, a lawyer and a son of a wealthy merchant in the 18th century, who dreamt about a better France and published revolutionary writings; but when the revolution did happen and France was heading to a worse end, he begans to regret his involvement in it. Jean possessed a terrible laughter which 'was filled with mockery for all things under heaven and earth.' - thus the title: The Devil's Laughter.

Those who are familiar with Yerby's works will know that his works use histories as a background, with violences and love stories. There were 3 women in Marin's life: 1) Lucienne Talbot, whom he was going to marry but left him for a richer man and came back to betray him again; 2) Nicole la Moyte, a beautiful blonde girl who loved him and was loved by him but married someone else when she believed Marin was dead; and 3) Fleurette, a blind flower girl, who under his care finally became a real woman.

While reading this, I suddenly remembered to my La Revolution Française recording (by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil), so I listened to it again. It is one of my favourites and although the genre is rock opera, but in my opinion it has some of the most beautiful songs ever written. I mean the melody. My favourites are: Charles Gauthier and L'horrible assassinat du citoyen Marat par la pérfide Charlotte Corday, but overall I like all the songs. As for the lyrics, well, L'horricle assassinat du citoyen Marat tells about the murder of Marat; and Charles Gautier tells that he is a son of a shopkeeper who goes to Paris as a representative for the Third Estate.

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