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Overview

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

ISBN-13: 9781681373102
Publisher: New York Review Books
Publication date: 06/25/2019
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 176
File size: 1 MB

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 LongingPoetry and the Fate of the SensesThe Open Studio: Essays in Art and AestheticsThe 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.