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Tales of Ordinary Madness
Charles Bukowski
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Invisible Cities
Italo Calvino
Gobseck - Honoré de Balzac

An interesting little story, which indirectly continues the tale started in Father Goriot. While the main theme in the story is avarice, there is a thin thread of continuity that touches upon the fate of Mme. de Restaud and her children, shedding new light on what happened after her father's, M. Goriot's death.

As in in his other works, Balzac superbly depicts the passing nature of fame and popularity, of the perceived power within the noble circles, and of the harsh reality that is paid for the privileges. In reality, it is man like Gobseck that hold the real power over the elite and poor alike, a man whose supreme intelligence and life experiences enable him to penetrate the thoughts and desires of his clientele before the thoughts and desires even become reality.

Unfortunately, even someone as calculated as Gobseck has his faults, and succumbs to his own greed.

A fine portrayal of the mind of an usurer.