A King Without Diversion

Product Number: EB00728063
Released: Mar 05, 2019
Business Term: Purchase
ISBN: #9781681373102
Publisher: NYRB Classics
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An existential detective story by one of France's most popular modern writers, set in a mid-nineteenth century mountain village, available in English for the first time This is the first English-language translation of Jean Giono's 1947 masterpiece Un roi sans divertissement, A King Without Diversion, which takes its title from Pascal's famous remark that "A man without diversions is a man with misery to spare." Giono's novel is an existential detective story set in a snowbound mountain village in the mid-nineteenth century. Deep in winter, inhabitants of the village begin mysteriously to disappear, and Langlois, Giono's hero, is sent to investigate the case. A man-hunt begins and Langlois brings it to what appears to be a successful conclusion. Some years later, again in winter, Langlois returns to the village, now having been promoted to the position of captain of the brigade that protects the inhabitants and their property from wolves. Langlois is a charismatic and enigmatic, kingly figure who fascinates the villagers he has been sent to protect, and yet he feels set apart from them and from himself, and, as he pursues the wolf who is preying on the village, identifies more and more with the murderer who had been his earlier target. The splendid and tormented figure of Langlois is very much at the center of Giono's novel, but he is surrounded with a full cast of remarkable characters. There is Sausage, the "saucy" and "sassy" cafe owner; Frederic II, the brave sawmill owner who tracks the killer; Ravanel Georges, an almost-victim of the murdered; the pot-bellied Royal Prosecutor with his profound knowledge of "men's souls"; the murdered Marie Chazottes and her "peppery blood"; an exotic woman from the "very high" places in Mexico who befriends Langlois and Sausage. In Alyson Waters's outstanding translation the many voices in this wonderfully inventive and yes, diverting, novel by one of the most pernnially popular of modern French writers come to brilliant life in English.

Author(s): Jean Giono
Original Publish Date: Mar 05, 2019

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