Henri Troyat Henri Peyre - Essay

Henri Peyre

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[Henri Troyat] is no experimenter, no champion of the antinovel, no acrobatic wielder of sentences annoyingly deprived of punctuation. He does not play at making time reversible. None of his French or Russian creatures seems to have dreamed of incest, rape or homosexuality. None of them even hates his mother or attempts to emulate the feats of the Marquis de Sade. They are hopelessly normal, with just a little more heroic glamour and a greater ardor for passionate love than most of us….

[Henri Troyat] is a smooth, pleasant, soothing storyteller, with a gift of fertile inventiveness, a praise worthy naturalness and an evident relish in the tales with which he charms the least exacting of his readers.

["The Brotherhood of the Red Poppy"] is standard Troyat, an animated historical evocation of the conquest of Paris by the Allied Armies in 1814. (p. 20)

Henri Troyat is not a creator of unforgettable characters…. The merit of the novel lies in its vivid evocation of scenery, of scenes of military life and in its expert re-creation of the eventful years when Napoleon tumbled from his throne. (p. 21)

Henri Peyre, "Conquest of Paris," in The New York Times Book Review (© 1961 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), July 23, 1961, pp. 20-1.