Publisher: Penguin Classics
Publication Date: 1985 (1838)
Finance, fashionable society, and the intrigues of the underworld and the police system form the heart of this powerful novel, which introduces the satanic genius Vautrin, one of the greatest villains in world literature.
Lost Illusions, the story which this book continues on from, held my interest throughout, as have the couple of other works I have read by Balzac. However, I struggled with A Harlot High and Low. There were scenes I enjoyed, and I would get sucked into a few chapters here and there, but then there would come chapters that bored me rigid and which I ended up skim-reading in an attempt to keep going. In some ways, I feel there is too much going on in this story, to the point where we don't really get to engage fully with the main characters because the plot has taken over every moment, and because I didn't engage with them, I came not to really care about what was happening to them. Perhaps I just wasn't in the right mood for it at the time I read it and I should give it another chance in the future, but based on my feelings about A Harlot High and Low on this read, it gets 3 stars from me.