someday ill be in company of all....

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Book Review: The Nun by Denis Diderot

Title: The Nun
Author: Denis Diderot
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Price: Rs 743
Page: 189
ISBN: 9780199555249
Genre: Fiction/ Classic
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Borrowed
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Diderot's The Nun (La Religieuse) is the seemingly true story of a young girl forced by her parents to enter a convent and take holy orders. A novel mingling mysticism, madness, sadistic cruelty and nascent sexuality, it gives a scathing insight into the effects of forced vocations and the unnatural life of the convent. This new translation includes Diderot's all-important prefatory material.

Set during 18th century France, the story is about Suzanne who is forced to become a nun by her parents..Growing up unloved, as she is born to her mother by a secret lover...Suzanne though dares to refuse when asked by the priest at the alter on the day of sacred vows, but then fates has it hard on her..Her parents die and she has no where to turn to..At the nunnery she is subjected to n number of agony both mental and physical..Taunt and harassment becomes an everyday event as her dark days unfolds.. The story moves on as is acquainted with different personalities, some good, some sweet, some kind to wicked to shrewd finally she is molested at the hand of a lesbian...At some point I expected Suzanne to run away from all this distress for good...One really feels bad for Suzanne, who is put in the convent as a plot to get rid of her from her parent's lives..Taking order against her wish made her to retaliate it that is evident through actions ...Her life in the second convent seemed all the worse where she encounters the rest of the horror , she is thrown into a cell, she is stolen and she is always a victim all the time...

The story shows a very different perspective to the life of nuns..It makes a point that no matter how pious certain things are if it were forced upon you things would turn pretty ugly...The book must have created real havoc for dealing with homosexuality back in 18th century that directed against the catholic church..The book was published after Diderot's death and believed to be a true story of nun in someway..At many instances the book carries an air of satire humor and you can't help but laugh too...Suzanne's prayer to god after being caught going against her sacred vows was in the list...The plot speeds away through the melancholy  to misery ..The first person narration makes it  even more earnest as we see things through Suzanne's head as she goes about a life that she never intended to live..At times the events and her torture seemed sadistic too..

The description of the homosexuality amazed me as it were written some two hundred years ago and I couldn't help but wonder if Diderot had got carried away bit too much at times...But the best part is Diderot doesn't attack religion and he stays away from going against God..On the other hand Diderot is nailing down hypocrites who do live a double lives in the name of living a pious life as the messenger of god..The book is an interesting read for unveiling events that  go behind the walls of convent...

1 comment:

  1. This does indeed sound very ground breaking and harrowing.

    Though I have not read him I believe Diderot was a bit of a philosopher and had some interesting ideas.


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