Belle du Seigneur by Albert Cohen
Belle du Seigneur has been called a hilarious mock-epic, an inventive satire of middle-class manners and ambition, a great comic achievement, Joycean, Proustian in its best moments. Its classic status has been confirmed by inclusion in Gallimard's Pleiade series, an honor shared only by Sartre among post-war French writers.Solal is a man of remarkable gifts and disappointed ideals. A Mediterranean Jew who is Under-Secretary of the League of Nations, he has become disillusioned with a world dominated by personal and national interest. His last hope for redemption is through love, and so he embarks on the seduction of his boss' wife, the beautiful Adrien. He abandons everything -- work, social life, purpose -- for passion.With clear-eyed pessimism, Solal journeys through the world of human pretensions and frailties, as Cohen treats readers to dazzling and searing commentary on middle-class manners, political antics, and "true" love.