This was another book on the top 50 short story list I found. After reading the story I remember having heard of it. A poor, yet beautiful woman borrows a “diamond necklace” from her friend so she won’t look poor at a ball. She has an amazing time escaping her poverty, if at least for one night being the object of affection. Then once her and her husband returned to their shabby apartment she realized that she had lost the necklace. Her and her husband then bought a replacement and spent the next 10 years paying off the debt they had incurred. The irony was that after 10 years she finally told her friend what had happened, only to be told that the diamond necklace was actually a fake and cost only 500 francs, not 36,000 francs. Bummer.
This story is more than just the necklace itself. The necklace is symbolic of envy and the story describes what can happen when envy gets the best of us. They spent 10 years of their life in debt, sounds pretty familiar doesn’t it? The average American with a credit card is over $10,700 in consumer debt at any given time (doesn’t include things like mortgages). My home state of Maine is among the worst in the country with almost $20,000 of consumer debt per person on average. Yikes. Even though this story was written in the 19th century, it still rings true today.
About the Author Guy de Maupassant:
Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant (5 August 1850 – 6 July 1893) was a popular 19th-century French writer, considered one of the fathers of the modern short story and one of the form’s finest exponents. A protégé of Flaubert, Maupassant’s stories are characterized by their economy of style and efficient, effortless dénouement. Many of the stories are set during the Franco-Prussian War of the 1870s and several describe the futility of war and the innocent civilians who, caught in the conflict, emerge changed. He authored some 300 short stories, six novels, three travel books, and one volume of verse. The story “Boule de Suif” (“Ball of Fat”, 1880) is often accounted his masterpiece. His most unsettling horror story, “Le Horla” (1887), was about madness and suicide. (Courtesy of Amazon.com)
To see more of the books I’ve read and reviewed, check out my virtual bookshelf from Shelfari.com: