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A short classic French novel, whose central character isn't so much Goriot as Eugène de Rastignac, who shares a Paris boarding-house with Goriot and falls in love with one of his daughters. The Goriot daughters have some nasty emotional manipulation going on with their father and their ennobled husbands, and Eugène is way out of his depth. One of his other fellow tenants is a master criminal in disguise, who makes Eugène the original offer that he cannot refuse, a line directly borrowed by The Godfather. (NB however that Eugène actually does refuse the offer.) I found the translation a bit clunky but the plot rather engaging. Apparently Balzac wrote dozens of novels in his Comédie Humaine series, and died with over a hundred more planned but unwritten.

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