Miller's Daughter -- Captain Burle -- Death of Olivier Becaille
it a bit," replied Fauchery. "I certainly must make the acquaintance of your Nana before talking about her. Besides, I've made no promises."
Then to put an end to the discussion, he introduced his cousin, M. Hector de la Faloise, a young man who had come to finish his education in Paris. The manager took the young man's measure at a glance. But Hector returned his scrutiny with deep interest. This, then, was that Bordenave, that showman of the sex who treated women like a convict overseer, that clever fellow who was always at full steam over some advertising dodge, that shouting, spitting, thigh- slapping fellow, that cynic with the soul of a policeman! Hector was under the impression that he ought to discover some amiable observation for the occasion.
"Your theater--" he began in dulcet tones.
Bordenave interrupted him with a savage phrase, as becomes a man who dotes on frank situations.
"Call it my brothel!"
At this Fauchery laughed approvingly, while La Faloise stopped with
Sex, power and celebrity in…
Nana comes from the streets, a runaway from a dysfunctional family. She becomes an overnight celebrity when she appears nude in a theatrical production while still a teenager. Though she cannot sing and she cannot act, it’s apparent that she has something very powerful - something that men want and women envy.
Men pursue her, they are always around, she gives them pleasure and they give her gifts. They give until they cannot give anymore and then one by one they fall to their ruin. And, while Nana finds pleasure in giving pleasure she does not seek love, only commerce, because commerce begets money, which begets power which begets envy and with enough begetting, one can become a celebrity and so Nana begets.
But, in the end, Nana lies dieing disfigured by disease, while a mob outside joyfully howls, “to Berlin, to Berlin”, anticipating a short and glorious war - with Prussia.
This is a great novel about the rise and fall of Nana and the society that made her a celebrity, a society obsessed with excessive displays of sexual and economic exhibitionism, a society that fortunately, no longer exists…