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With the Animals
     

With the Animals

by Noelle Revaz, W. Donald Wilson
 

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Considered the standard-bearer for the great Franco-Swiss literary tradition, exemplified by authors such as Jacques Chessex and C. F. Ramuz, Noëlle Revaz may also remind English-language readers of Louis-Ferdinand Céline: With the Animals, her shocking debut, is a novel of mud and blood whose linguistic audaciousness is matched only by its brutality,

Overview

Considered the standard-bearer for the great Franco-Swiss literary tradition, exemplified by authors such as Jacques Chessex and C. F. Ramuz, Noëlle Revaz may also remind English-language readers of Louis-Ferdinand Céline: With the Animals, her shocking debut, is a novel of mud and blood whose linguistic audaciousness is matched only by its brutality, misanthropy, and gallows humor. Narrated by the singular Paul—a violent, narrow-minded farmer whose unceasing labor leaves him with more love for his livestock than his family—With the Animals is at once a fantastically exaggerated and entirely honest portrait of masculinity gone mad. With his mute and detested wife and children huddled at his side, Paul is only roused from his regimen of hard labor and casual cruelty when a farmhand, Georges, comes to work on his property for the summer. His sovereignty seemingly threatened, an element of unwanted humanity now injected into his universe, Paul's little kingdom seems ripe at last for a revolution.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In her debut novel, Swiss author Revaz paints a grim portrait of a provincial farm under the rule of Paul, a petty tyrant who feels more compassion for his cows than he does for his family. Beset by his mute wife (whom he loathingly refers to as "Vulva") and a brood of children, Paul creates a fiefdom of alienation and neverending labor. But the arrival of Georges, a Portuguese farmhand, begins to threaten Paul's authority and undermine his austere worldview. But in the end, the simple episodic plot is of less interest than simply listening to Paul. Full of malapropisms, neologisms, unsettling rhythms and convoluted syntax, Paul's speech creates a vivid and brutal idiolect that is as refreshing as it is disturbing. For all the misanthropy of Paul's thoughts—he often has to struggle to remember that Vulva is a person—he manages moments of minor poetry. Coming across an earthworm, Paul muses that "Some folk never turn a hair but smash straight down with the flat of the spade, and there's some slice clean through and kill with never a thought, never allowing any notion that critters might have stories too, stories just like ours, only we're bigger." Like Paul, this novel has much to offer anyone willing to endure the darkness long enough to find it. (May)
Jean-Louis Kuffer
“The first pages of With the Animals herald the arrival of a writer,without a doubt, who reacquaints us with words themselves, with rhythms, with color,with contours, with the materials of language.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781564787552
Publisher:
Dalkey Archive Press
Publication date:
05/26/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
232
File size:
405 KB

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Noëlle Revaz was born in 1968 in the canton of Valais, Switzerland. She is the author of numerous short stories and a novel, Efina. Besides her work as a writer, she teaches creative writing at the Swiss Literature Institute at Biel/Bienne, where she lives.

W. Donald Wilson is a professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada. He is a translator of fiction and nonfiction from the French, and his work includes titles by Yves Thériault, Jean Heffer, and Jacques Chessex.

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