Thursday, 1 May 2008

Translated Novel

Finished April 29
By a Slow River by Philippe Claudel, translated from the French by Hoyt Rogers
This novel is a fictional memoir of a time in the narrator's past, during the First World War. In the village he lives in in France, the factory keeps most of the young men out of the war, so the village exists as a sort of island in the midst of the fighting, not that far from the front line. The narrator, who was a young policeman at the time, describes the deaths of three females in the town that affect him in a personal way. As he discusses them you get a sense of the village and how the inhabitants interact. One of the main characters is the prosecutor, who is a widower and lives alone in a large house with grounds. He has two servants who meet his modest needs and he lives a reclusive life outside of his job. The first female to die is a young, pretty schoolteacher, and her death shocks the community. The second is a young girl, very pretty and full of life and the light of her family. The third death is the policeman's own wife, young and pregnant. As he deals with his own feelings around the deaths and the regrets he has around his actions, he gives a intimate picture of life in the village, and his own shortcomings.

1 comment:

  1. I've been branching out in recent years and reading more books in translation. There's some real gems out there. This does sound like it might be something I would like. Thanks for letting me know about it!