A King Alone

Jean Giono (Author) Alyson Waters (Translator)
& 1 more
Available

Description

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

A King Alone is set in a remote Alpine village that is cut off from the world by rugged mountains and by long months when the ground is covered with snow and the heavens with cloud. One such winter, villagers begin mysteriously to disappear. Soon the village is paralyzed by terror, which gives way to relief and eager anticipation when the outsider Langlois arrives to investigate. What he discovers, however, will leave no one reassured, and his reappearance in the village a few years later, now assigned the task of guarding it from wolves, awakens those troubling memories. A man of few words, a regal manner, and military efficiency, Langlois baffles and fascinates the villagers, whose different responses to him shape Jean Giono's increasingly charged narrative. This novel about a tiny community at the dangerous edge of things and a man of law who is a man alone could be described as a metaphysical Western. It unfolds with the uncanny inevitability and disturbing intensity of a dream.

Product Details

Price
$14.95  $13.75
Publisher
New York Review of Books
Publish Date
June 25, 2019
Pages
176
Dimensions
5.0 X 0.6 X 7.9 inches | 0.4 pounds
Language
English
Type
Paperback
EAN/UPC
9781681373096
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Jean Giono (1895-1970) was born and lived most of his life in the town of Manosque, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. Largely self-educated, he started working as a bank clerk at the age of sixteen and reported for military service when World War I broke out. After the success of Hill, which won the Prix Brentano, he left the bank and began to publish prolifically. During World War II his outspoken pacifism led some to accuse him, unjustly, of defeatism and collaboration with the Nazis. After France's liberation in 1944, he was imprisoned and held without charges. Despite being blacklisted after his release, Giono continued writing and achieved renewed success. He was elected to the Académie Goncourt in 1954. NYRB Classics publishes Giono's Hill and Melville.

Alyson Waters has translated several works from the French by Albert Cossery, Louis Aragon, René Belletto, and others. She teaches literary translation in the French department of Yale University and is the managing editor of Yale French Studies. For NYRB Classics, Waters has translated Emmanuel Bove's HenriDuchemin and His Shadowsand, for The New York Review Children's Collection, The Tiger Prince by Chen Jiang Hong. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Susan Stewart, the Avalon Foundation University Professor in the Humanities at Princeton University, is a poet, critic, and translator. A former MacArthur Fellow and Chancellor of the Academy of American poets, she is the author of six books of poems, including Columbarium, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, and, most recently, Cinder: New and Selected Poems. Her many prose works include On Longing, Poetry and the Fate of the Senses, The Open Studio: Essays in Art and Aesthetics, The Poet's Freedom. Her forthcoming book The Ruins Lesson: Meaning and Material in Western Culture will be available from The University of Chicago Press in Fall 2019.

Reviews

"Langlois is as mysterious as Sam Spade....The haunting beauty of this novel lies precisely in its lacunae. This is a book rich with details . . . everything except what we are most longing to know, Langlois's thoughts. We must do all the work ourselves." --Edmund White, The New York Review of Books

"Strange and disquieting . . . the twisting narrative reads like a game of telephone passed through generations, with Langlois at the center as a sort of legendary totem to the villagers." --Publishers Weekly

"This immersive novel creates a memorably delirious sense of mystery, obsession, and altered perceptions." --Kirkus

"For Giono, literature and reality overlap the way that waves sweep over the shore, one ceaselessly refreshing the other and, in certain wondrous moments, giving it a glassy clearness." --Ryu Spaeth, The New Republic
"Giono's writing possesses a vigor, a surprising texture, a contagious joy, a sureness of touch and design, an arresting originality, and that sort of unfeigned strangeness that always goes along with sincerity when it escapes from the ruts of convention." --André Gide, unpublished letter, 1929