Des Grieux is a nobleman who falls in love with the irresistible Manon Lescaut, a woman from the lower classes. They run away together and during the course of their relationship, Manon betrays des Grieux three times. He takes her back every time after experiencing some angsty thoughts, such as “But in my heart I was so overjoyed at seeing her again that I could scarcely bring myself to say a hard word to her, despite all the grounds I had for being angry. Yet my heart was bleeding at the cruel outrage she had done me. I quickly called all this to mind in an attempt to fan the flames of my indignation, and I tried to make my eyes blaze with other fires than those of love.”
The blurb on the back of the book describes Manon Lescaut as a femme fatale so I was expecting her to be really evil, akin to Mildred in Somerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage. Well, she really wasn’t as bad as I thought she was, just silly and childish, as was her lover, Chevalier des Grieux.
I really enjoyed reading the book, although des Grieux quite annoyed me. Some may say that it was romantic that he left his inheritance for love but I found him more and more irritating as the story went on.
The language was quite poetic and it was obvious that the author had some religious training or knowledge. De Grieux was the narrator for the majority of the book, and he told his story in a very engaging way.
Definitely a book I’d read again.