Jean de Florette and Manon of the Springs

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Overview

In Jean de Florette and Manon of the Springs, Marcel Pagnol (called by Andre Malraux "one of the great writers of our generation" and by Jean Renoir "the leading film artist of his age") achieve the fullest and most satisfying expression of a story that haunted him for years, a Provencal legend of vengeance exacted by a mysterious sheperdess. Pagnol brings to his treatment of this powerful, moving story his dramatist's sense of place, ambience, and character and his keen understanding of the Provencal countryside...
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Overview

In Jean de Florette and Manon of the Springs, Marcel Pagnol (called by Andre Malraux "one of the great writers of our generation" and by Jean Renoir "the leading film artist of his age") achieve the fullest and most satisfying expression of a story that haunted him for years, a Provencal legend of vengeance exacted by a mysterious sheperdess. Pagnol brings to his treatment of this powerful, moving story his dramatist's sense of place, ambience, and character and his keen understanding of the Provencal countryside and its people. Rich with twists and ramifications, Jean de Florette and Manon of the Springs sets an idealistic city man against two secretive and deceitful Provencal country men in a superbly realized story of a struggle for life, of crime and punishment, of betrayal and revenge, and of judgment and forgiveness. In this edition, illustrated with images from the acclaimed film adaptation by Claude Berri, North Point presents Pagnol's enduring story in W.E. van Heyningen's exact and sensitive translation.

Biblical in its cadences, epic in its sweep to destiny, and old fashioned in development of character and plot, this saga charts the destruction of a Provencal family.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Playwright, filmmaker and novelist Pagnol (1895-1974) affectionately celebrated his native Provence along with the shrewdness and comic foibles of the folk. Jean Cadoret is a hunchback of charm and intelligence who comes from town to settle on his inherited estate where he plans to farm scientifically. His wife Aimee, a former small-time opera singer, and adoring little daughter Manon work by his side. But the jealous Soubeyransthe local patriarch Cesar and his nephew, the clownish Ugolincraftily plug up a spring on Jean's farm and wait for him to fail. When a cruel summer drought drives Jean to despair and eventually death, the Soubeyrans buy his land cheaply and divert the water for their own lucrative carnation farm. In the sequel, Manon appears as a picturesque goat-girl/dryad, scampering over the rocks in cast-off opera gear and playing her pipes. She avenges her parents and falls in love. The end brings astonishing revelations. Pagnol depicts his villagers as post-Roman pagans whose ``natural brutality'' shows through their Christian veneer. As in the author's earlier naturalist novels, the landscape and the willful spring are forces molding human fates. Those who offend nature, here lushly described, pay a penalty. There are eight pages of photos (not seen by PW), from the recently released films, which follow the novels closely. (March)
Library Journal
The recent success of two French films based on Pagnol's two-part novel will no doubt guarantee a ready-made audience for this book. But its appearance for the first time in English is an event in itself. With sweeping strokes Pagnol creates Greek tragedy in the hillsides north of Marseilles, hills teeming with wild game, fragrant with fig and almond trees, but only fitfully fed by underground streams. It is the search for precious water to irrigate his crops that drives the hunchbacked idealist Jean de Florette to his death. In Manon , the tables turn, and Jean's daughter redeems her father's wasted life while she wreaks vengeance on his enemies. The charm of Pagnol's work lies in his love for the peasants of his native Provence. Lisa Mullenneaux, Iowa City
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780865473126
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 3/28/1988
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 403,344
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2000

    The Best Thing since Sliced bread

    This book was absolutely the best book I have ever read. If I could I would read it over and over all day long. You just can't get enough of Jean's kindness and the evils lurkng inside of Ugolan and Papet.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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