bestia

The latest addition to my website is Chantal Fraïsse‘s La bèstia de totas las colors [The Beast of All Colours], written in Occitan. This was prompted by my visit to Provence in May where I found bookshops, such as one called the Librairie de Provence, did not actually stock any books in Provençal/Occitan. On returning home, I poked around on the Internet to see if I could find any recent novels written in Provençal/Occitan and came up with this one, which had won the Paul-Froment prize for best work in Occitan in 2011. It is a simple but very enjoyable novel about the life of the financial director of Moissac Abbey, where Fraïsse works as a conservationist. She wrote it in Occitan which, she says, is her second mother tongue. Bertrand Cassanis really did exist and left behind a lot of documentation about his life and times, but Fraïsse has, by her own admission, used the bits she considered appropriate to write her novel, so the book is a novel and not a biography. This novel has not been translated into English or, indeed, into any other language and is unlikely to be so, unless Fraïsse herself translates it into French so, while I can recommend it, unless you read Occitan, you will have to wait for it to be translated.