Jean Giono: Que ma joie demeure (Joy of Man’s Desiring)

The latest addition to my website is Jean Giono‘s Que ma joie demeure (Joy of Man’s Desiring). This is an unusual book for Giono, as it flirts with fantasy. It is set, as usual, in a farming community in an unnamed region of central France. The region has been affected by a general malaise, making many people unhappy with even the odd suicide. Jourdan, one of the farmers, dreams of someone arriving to heal them and, sure enough, a wanderer, Bobi, turns up. He proceeds to change the general feeling by bringing the community closer to nature – sowing flowers instead of cash crops, feeding the birds with surplus corn, bringing in a tame stag – and generally bringing the community together. Not everyone accepts his views and things do go wrong but the overall message is that we should be closer together and work more together. A worthy message, given the period when the book was written (late 1930s).

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