"Strong as Death" is great fun and the society portrait works well but, unlike a Henry James, there is too much narcissistic sentimentality in the obsessive romantic love between Olivier Bertin and Madame de Guilleroy. The intellectual and emotional depths of a Henry James character (Kate Croy or Maggie Verver, for instance) are absent. The novel is more in the vein of Disney comic, and perhaps Guy de Maupassant was aiming at humour.
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