A compelling story that deserves a better ending
|Honoré de Balzac|
The story goes on to become more complex than a simple mystery story, venturing into debates of morality and ethics, but to summarize it further would be to spoil its surprises. Though the dual level of narrative may sound confusing, Balzac intertwines the two stories with his usual deftness, weaving them together into a compelling whole. For most of its brief length, The Red Inn is quite suspenseful and engaging. Balzac always does a terrific job of establishing an atmospheric setting and populating it with fascinating characters. As is unfortunately typical of many of his earlier short stories, however, The Red Inn suffers from a weak ending. All the narrative riches Balzac amasses over the course of the story are squandered on a conclusion that is too talky and leaves too many issues unresolved. I have the utmost respect for Balzac as a novelist, but his shorter works often feel truncated and incomplete, and this piece is no exception. The Red Inn is worth reading in order to experience the clever twists and turns of its first three quarters, but its inconclusive conclusion will leave you wanting more.
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