Thursday, March 15, 2007

Cyrano - Geraldine McCaughrean


Geraldine McCaughrean's Cyrano comes with the words "For anyone who's ever been hopelessly in love" on the cover, and it's a tragic tale of a love triangle. I confess that I've never seen or read the play by Edmond Rostand, nor seen the 1990 movie starring Gérard Depardieu, so whilst I knew the general gist of the story, I came to this tale fresh.

Cyrano de Bergerac is a flamboyant character: a skilled swordsman and poet, who's not afraid of drawing attention to himself in public; he can be highly amusing, even at his own expense, making jokes about his enormous nose. But he has a weakness too as he's fallen in love with his beautiful cousin Roxane, but he's too ashamed to declare his love because of his looks. Roxane in the meantime, is completely besotted with a handsome, but rather foolish young man named Christian, who is in the same Guards' company as Cyrano. Cyrano is devastated when he learns of Roxane's obsession, and quite horrified by her request that he protect Christian when they are set off to Arras to fight. Roxane begs Cyrano to encourage Christian to write love letters to her. Unfortunately, writing such letters is rather beyond Christian, so Cyrano writes them for him, pouring out his own feelings for Roxane, whilst breaking his heart by pretending to Christian that its only his poetic talents that allow him to say what Christian cannot. Cyrano risks life and limb every day to cross the Spanish encampment that surrounds the town in which the Guard Company is besieged, just so that he can get the letters out to the mail for Roxane. And then one day, Roxane turns up, somehow persuading the Spanish to let her through their blockade merely because she wants to see her lover. Unfortunately the day she arrives is also the day that the Spanish decide to attack the city and the day ends badly for more than one of the members of the love-triangle.

4 comments:

Camille said...

Good Golly, Miss Molly,
I JUST finished reading this book two nights ago! I was my first McCaughrean. Having read Cyrano en français long ago, I was struck by the faithfulness to the original.

Michele said...

Well there's uncanny timing for you ! I finished it three days ago - but I ran out of time for writing the review on Wednesday !

Susan said...

I mean, is Geraldine the most exhausting person around or what? I spend a day noodling around on the Internet, and she writes another book. Cyrano! Coool.

Michele said...

She's exhausting me, I know that much Susan !