17 April, 2013
Carmen by Prosper Mérimée (1845)
This is the story upon which Bizet based his famous opera. While the novella gives much more by way of a backstory, the essential tale remains the same. Carmen, the impossibly 'illuring' gypsy woman, holds the Basque soldier Don José hopelessly in her thrall and leads him into a life of villainy. Set in majestic Andalusia, Carmen is equal parts romance and adventure, and the fall of Don José under Carmen's relentless spell has a sort of Shakespearean inevitability about it. It still speaks to us almost 170 years later because, well, we've all been there on one level or another. A deserved classic, but little read.