Jean Giono: Le Grand Troupeau (To the Slaughterhouse)

The latest addition to my website is Jean Giono‘s Le Grand Troupeau (To the Slaughterhouse). This is Jean Giono’s World War I novel, telling of the horrors of that war. We follow both the fate of those left behind (but near the front), older men and women in this novel, as well as their loved ones off fighting a bloody and vicious war. The story tells of a particular family, with the two young men away fighting and the old man and the young women left to look after the farm. While the old man and the young women struggle, Giono, in particular, spares us no details of the actual war, with one of the young men, Olivier, seeing most of his unit killed, several in front of him, and images of crows and rats eating dead bodies. This is definitely not of one Giono’s joyous novels but a worthwhile addition to the literature of the horrors of war.

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