Review of Vendre Son Viager
One of the most famous pen-pal romance novels, written by Edith Grossman, is Vendre Son Viager by Tristam Van Loan. This book has been adapted into a movie and three different theatrical plays. The book centers around a young girl, Vivienne, who has been left deaf and blind after a car accident. She lives with her cousin, Pierrot, and they are told that she is a sorceress and that her abilities can be utilized to help them in their quest for freedom.
One day, Vivienne is using her magic wand to make other people hear and see. She also uses her wand to control others, but on a whim she decides that she wants to rent a room in a local hotel where she plans to learn to speak French. However, while she is trying to get the owner to let her rent the apartment, she accidentally curses a local merchant who tries to mistreat her. When she finds out that she cannot perform the magic any longer, she goes to a French restaurant to find someone who can teach her how to perform it, and this where the story begins.
Throughout the novel, Vivienne meets with several individuals, each of whom teaches her new ways to gain control over her powers. At the end of the novel, we finally learn that Vivienne’s dream is to find her own way out of the society that has shunned her, but she still has dreams of traveling through time, visiting other eras in history, and discovering great places that have been left untouched by modern man. All throughout the novel, Vivienne uses her powers to help others, and while she realizes that using her magic wand to do so is dangerous, she keeps trying anyways. However, once she realizes how dangerous this method is, she eventually gives up the use of her powers, except for one night when she goes back in time and tries to save some infants from burning in a stove. As such, the reader learns that while Vivienne may be a very powerful person, she is also a very fragile one, as she easily allows herself to be burned by fire.