Vipers' Tangle

  • by Francois Mauriac
  • Narrated by Geoffrey Howard
  • 5 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In this remarkable novel, Mauriac brings his extraordinary talent for probing the inmost core of the human character to what is arguably the most exciting theme in the world: the battle for the human soul. In all of literature there can be few more appalling studies of a soul devoured by pride and avarice, corroded by hatred.Louis, a wretchedly unhappy multi-millionaire, all but personifies evil. Toward the end of his life, seeking to uncover the cause of his unhappiness, he commits to paper his whole bitter story: his indulgent but affection-starved childhood; his first love; the trivial misunderstanding that festered until it poisoned their entire married life and the lives of their children; the old miser's struggle to disinherit his family; and finally, the powerful climax, with divine grace vying to the very end to pierce the evil encrusting Louis' soul.


What the Critics Say

"A modern masterpiece." (St. Louis Star-Times)
"Mauriac develops a character from the inside out....The listener is able to move into Louis's mind, to feel and understand his motivation." (Library Journal)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


A man awaits death and begins to write a letter to his wife. He finds himself alienated from her and, subsequently, his children, all of whom he thinks hate him. He feels loved by none and that people only attach themselves to him for his fortune.

His letter serves as a journey through his life and help him penetrate his own heart as he hurtles towards something that was in him all along.

His heart is a tangle of viperes, but will he escape?

I didn't like this book at first. However, it truly is a masterpiece. The narration is superb.
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- Richie

Too late the hero

I was lead to this book via a consideration of the recent death of Antonio Tabucchi who cited Mauriac as a great influence. It is possible to see why, but having completed the novel I feel that Tabucchi was the more satisfying read.

That said, there are some really thoughtful insights here and religious meditations that really had me thinking. So much gloom and doom, misogyny and misanthropy is balanced by a religious revelation in the later sections which is then underlain by a final questioning. It is in essence a work of religious Existentialism - if there can be such a thing - delivered through the distanced narrator and the tricks of the modernist. A good, but not a great read - and like the curate’s egg in totality I felt.
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- Welsh Mafia

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-11-2009
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.