The Black Sheep

Front Cover
Penguin UK, Sep 29, 2005 - Fiction - 352 pages
Philippe and Joseph Bridau are two extremely different brothers. The elder, Philippe, is a superficially heroic soldier and adored by their mother Agathe. He is nonetheless a bitter figure, secretly gambling away her savings after a brief but glorious career in Napoleon's army. His younger brother Joseph, meanwhile, is fundamentally virtuous - but their mother is blinded to his kindness by her disapproval of his life as an artist. Foolish and prejudiced, Agathe lives on unaware that she is being cynically manipulated by her own favourite child, but will she ever discover which of her sons is truly the black sheep of the family? A dazzling depiction of the power of money and the cruelty of life in nineteenth-century France, The Black Sheep compellingly explores is a compelling exploration of the nature of deceit.

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User Review  - Erratic_Charmer - LibraryThing

[The Black Sheep] tells the story of two brothers living in Paris at the beginning of the 19th century, at the end of the Napoleonic wars. One, Joseph, is a gifted painter of good heart and upright ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Stbalbach - LibraryThing

Although full of action and entertaining, "The Black Sheep" is something more. This is a story of two brothers and a mother, very similar to my own family situation, and apparently like Balzac's home ... Read full review


2 The Bridau family
3 The unfortunate widows
4 Vocation
5 The great man in the family
6 Mariette
7 Philippe absconds
14 A horrible and vulgar story
15 Old Farios cart
16 The five Hochons
17 MaxenceMachiavelli
18 A stab in the chest
19 A criminal matter
20 Philippe at Issoudun

8 How a mothers love can change for the worse
9 Philippes last acts of misconduct
11 The Knights of Idleness
12 At La Cognettes
13 Flore Brazier
22 A duel to the death
23 Madame Rouget
24 The repentance of a saintly woman

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About the author (2005)

Balzac was born in 1799, the son of a civil servant. At the age of thirty - heavily in debt and with an unsucessful past behind him - he started work on the first of what were to become a total of ninety novels and short stories that make up The Human Comedy. He died in 1850.

Translated with an introduction by Donald Adamson

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