Dangerous Liaisons is a deeply disturbing book.
I think what bothers me most is the fact that sincere expressions of supposedly private emotions are betrayed to third parties, i.e., that innocent people are being made fools of and don’t even know it. It is horrible to suspect that others are laughing at us; it is even more horrible to find out that we have indeed been laughed at, and that, further, we deserved it, if only because we were naive.
Do you think you can evade vicarious injury by identifying with the clever if cruel miscreants rather their victims? Then you will be pained when the novel fails to conclude as happily for them as they seem to assume it will. No one gets away unscathed!
The ambiguous stance of the book allows readers multiple interpretations. One lesson you could say the book teaches is never to give anyone the benefit of the doubt, though perhaps it’s simply saying that no matter how suspicious you try to be, your trust will always be misplaced. A more benign lesson would be that the ridiculous French loan-word ‘liaison’ has two i’s in it—if I never type the word again, it will be too soon.
Meanwhile, I offer you a presumably accidental pun on the word “affair” in the form of a questionably worded Quizno’s ad.
When and Why I Read Dangerous Liaisons
This work was chosen as the Hungry Hundred Book Club book for February 2017.
Genre: fiction (French literature)
Date started / date finished: 28-Jan-17 to 06-Feb-17
Length: 409 pages
ISBN: 9780140449570 (paperback)
Originally published in: 1782
Amazon link: Dangerous Liaisons