Laura (laura0218) wrote,
Laura
laura0218

Le Grand Meaulnes

Le Grand Meaulnes
Alain-Fournier, translated by Frank Davison
205 pages

Le Grand Meaulnes is a romantic coming-of-age tale, a story of friendship, love, and loss. When Augustin Meaulnes arrives at a small French school, he is befriended by François Seurel, the 15-year-old son of the headmaster. François looks up to Meaulnes, who is two years older and both a dreamer and a rebel. The boys nickname him "Le Grande Meaulnes" which the translator explains is similar to the English phrase, "good old Meaulnes." One day, in an act of bravado, Meaulnes gets hold of a carriage, heads off on his own, gets lost, and ultimately finds himself at a very strange wedding feast. There he encounters the most beautiful woman he's ever seen: Yvonne de Galais. The feast breaks up rather abruptly when the groom's fiancee decides not to go through with the wedding. In the confusion, Meaulnes is separated from Yvonne, and he vows to find her again. He embarks on a quest of sorts, leaving François behind to finish his studies. The search for Yvonne takes a circuitous path involving François, a number of other colorful characters, and unexpected connections with the groom from the wedding feast.

Le Grand Meaulnes was Alain-Fournier's first novel. Sadly, he was killed in World War I in 1914, just two years after publication. His writing is beautiful; I was instantly transported back to 1890s rural France, where women dried their linen by draping it over the bushes, and men engaged in vigorous debate in the local cafe. The weather and scenery were described in vivid detail, further immersing me in the world of François and his friend Meaulnes:
And now, to swoop down from a hill-top into the hollows as if on wings; to see a blurred landscape far ahead divide and make an aisle for you and burst into leaf as you passed; to slip through a village taking everything in at a glance ... Only in dreams had I been wafted on such delightful flights. (p. 139)

While there were parts of this book I found a bit bizarre, and others that were slow-moving, overall the writing was so wonderful that I enjoyed it a great deal. ( )

Tags: review
Subscribe

  • No Fond Return of Love

    No Fond Return of Love Barbara Pym 261 pages There are various ways of mending a broken heart, but perhaps going to a learned conference is one…

  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves

    Eats, Shoots & Leaves Lynne Truss 204 pages I admit to being a bit fixated on grammar and punctuation. During boring meetings at work, one of…

  • The Hiding Place

    The Hiding Place Corrie ten Boom 219 pages Corrie ten Boom and her family operated an underground movement in Holland during World War II,…

  • Post a new comment

    Error

    Comments allowed for friends only

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded 

  • 3 comments