Vipers’ Tangle

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What to expect

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 multimillionaire, 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.

Critics Review

  • “A lucid and penetrating study…Mauriac proves himself as good a storyteller as he is a psychologist.”

    The New York Times
  • “A modern masterpiece.”

    St. Louis Star-Times
  • “[Ralph Cosham] gives an appropriately low-key reading, making the unattractive narrator as accessible as possible without trying to force sympathy or dramatic tension beyond what is in the text.”

  • “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
  • “Mauriac has produced…nothing more fearless than Viper’s Tangle.”

    Elsie Pell, François Mauriac: In Search of the Infinite

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