Jean Giono: Colline (Hill of Destiny; later: Hill)

The latest addition to my website is Jean Giono‘s Colline (Hill of Destiny; later: Hill). This is Giono’s first novel and is rightly considered a classic of French literature. It tells the story of a remote and isolated hamlet in Provence, with only thirteen inhabitants. The oldest inhabitant, a cantankerous old man called Janet, is taken ill. At around that time, things start to go wrong. There is a storm. The spring from which they get their water supply dries up. There is a major fire. A young girl becomes seriously ill. In particular, they see a cat, a known harbinger of disaster. They struggle with the various disasters, not always sticking together, while Janet lies on his sickbed, telling them that the hill by the village is going to rise up against them and that they are all doomed. Eventually they come to a conclusion. The cause of their problems is Janet and they will not have peace as long as he is alive. This is a superb story about superstition and living in isolation but also about the connectedness of the peasants to their land.

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