Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyIn Larbaud's volume of short stories, translated into English for the first time, the author faithfully reproduces the inner experience of the child but does so without evoking our envy. Readers will recognize the hidden landscapes of children, created out of fantasies of romantic love, explorations, knights, queens, heroism, fame and vindication--a world jealously hidden from adults. One child says of the adults' world that ``their version is different than ours'' because it does not see a face emerging from the veins of a marble fireplace or a garden transformed into a landscape crisscrossed by trains. But, above all, the private feelings of Larbaud's children are of delicious pain. In ``Rose Lourdin'' a little girl savors being scolded, squeezes the memory of her humiliations into something sensual. ``I loved the taste of pent-up tears,'' Rose confesses, ``which seem to fall directly from your eyes into your heart.'' Although the bittersweet emotions of childhood are certainly real, the celebration of suffering does become rather tedious with children always ``hunched over and locked up under grown-up eyes.'' The strength of the book clearly lies in Larbaud's rendering of the fantasy world where adult demands for responsibility are evaded and ``the door to dreams is open night and day.'' (Apr.)
Library Journal - Library JournalThe characters in Larbaud's collection Enfantines (1918), translated into English for the first time, are privileged children with murderously passionate inner lives their stuffy parents are utterly indifferent to. A young ``little bourgeois sissy'' falls in love with the village shepherdess, suffering such transports of despair that he maims himself in sympathy of his beloved (``The Butcher Knife''); a schoolgirl becomes infatuated with an older student and recognizes ``from then on, there was a big secret in the world: mine'' (``Rose Lourdin''). Larbaud's portraits are crisp, skillful, convincing: the last selection, ``Portrait of Eliane at Fourteen,'' depicts the inchoate sexual rapture of a girl as she makes her first ecstatic declaration of love. The French author Larbaud (1881-1957) is best known for his Journal d'A. O. Barnabooth. Libraries that can afford to add this jewel to their fiction collections should.-Amy Boaz, ``Library Journal''
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