HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Pure by Andrew Miller
Loading...

Pure (2011)

by Andrew Miller

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9205914,311 (3.65)162
  1. 10
    The Empire of Death: A Cultural History of Ossuaries and Charnel Houses by Paul Koudounaris (clfisha)
    clfisha: Anyone interested in the creation of Paris Catacombs and in charnel houses/ossuaries in general this is a great non-fiction coffee table book.
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 162 mentions

English (58)  Dutch (1)  All languages (59)
Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
This is the third book I've read off of my "Genre Novels That Should Be Classics" reading list in a quest to expand my book choices beyond my normal comfort zone. I'm not a big historical fiction reader. Sometimes it makes appearances in my Fantasy or Science Fiction picks, but I never avidly seek it out. That's why I chose to listen to the audio of Pure. Jonathan Aris came highly recommended as a narrator, and I hoped he'd help me immerse myself in Paris circa 1785.

Jean-Baptiste Baratte was an intriguing character. A young man, an engineer, with visions of grand projects flitting across his mind. Imagine his surprise when the first job that he is tasked with, is the destruction of Les Innocents cemetary and its church. I was pulled in by this thought. If this is the only job offered, and you need the work, does it matter that you'll be destroying a piece of history? Unearthing the loved ones of others? Watching Jean-Baptiste struggle with this, following along as he fought his own inner demons, fascinated me.

What was tough for me, were the layers this book contains. Pure is packed to the brim with metaphor and symbolism. It may have been easier for me to soak that all in if I had been reading printed words. Perhaps. Despite Jonathan Aris' excellent narration, I still lost myself at certain points. Jean-Baptiste's thoughts would reach a point where they were so dense, so scattered, that I'd find myself struggling to pay attention. There were high points, and low points, but the ending threw me completely off. I listened to it again, just to make sure I didn't miss something important. I'm still confused.

For a very vividly written Paris backdrop, and a character that I enjoyed, I'll give this a two-star rating. The extra star is for Jonathan Aris' wonderful narration. If you have the opportunity to listen to this on audio, I'd say go for it! My quest continues on! ( )
  roses7184 | Feb 5, 2019 |
In the dying days of the ancien régime in France, an idealistic young engineer comes to Paris tasked with the removal of an old cemetery and its derelict church.

Through the course of a single year we follow the unfolding of the project and the shifting relationships of the engineer, the team he assembles, the local community and the remnants of the church establishment including a deranged priest set on going down with the building and a cynical organist of radical bent. There's no plot to speak of but you wouldn't want further spoilers either. It's all an allegory of course; of precisely what I can't say without further thought. Of the coming Revolution of course, of the state of France at that time, but what does it tell us about our own world?

An absorbing read and highly recommended.

( )
  enitharmon | Jan 14, 2019 |
In the dying days of the ancien régime in France, an idealistic young engineer comes to Paris tasked with the removal of an old cemetery and its derelict church.

Through the course of a single year we follow the unfolding of the project and the shifting relationships of the engineer, the team he assembles, the local community and the remnants of the church establishment including a deranged priest set on going down with the building and a cynical organist of radical bent. There's no plot to speak of but you wouldn't want further spoilers either. It's all an allegory of course; of precisely what I can't say without further thought. Of the coming Revolution of course, of the state of France at that time, but what does it tell us about our own world?

An absorbing read and highly recommended.

( )
  enitharmon | Jan 14, 2019 |
This was a 10-part abridged audio presentation. There was only one reader, John Sessions, and he did an amazing job. He really carried you into the story with his portrayal of all the characters. This also sounded like a really interesting story, fully thought out, and engaging from beginning to end. I sense this would be a really enjoyable read, taking the reader on a journey and out of everyday life for a while. Isn't that why we read fiction? And it's left me curious about the ending. What happened there? Was the whole thing a ruse by some imposter? Or did it imply the casualness with which the task was assigned, in contrast to the life-changing experience that it turned out to be? Sounds like something for a book club to discuss. ( )
  Lit_Cat | Dec 9, 2017 |
I can't deny the skill that went into writing this - it's 18th century France to its core (and I've no idea why I'm so sure since I obviously didn't live in 18th century France, but there was a strong sense of authenticity about it), but I didn't find it an enjoyable read. An engineer is engaged to excavate a putrefying graveyard. He does it. If you're interested in how such a task might be completed this book is for you. But I was looking for a compelling plot and I didn't find one. Of the shopping list of dramatic events listed on the back page little is heard until close to the end when several of them happen at once, taking up relatively little time, and normal grave-excavation service is promptly resumed.

The most intriguing character in the book was perhaps Ziguette, but she promptly disappears never to be seen again. And what exactly was the attraction between the protagonist and Heloise which apparently springs from nowhere. Big questions weren't answered, or at least not in a way I could understand. Books like this often make me feel as though I am missing something: some allegory or some hint I have failed to pick up on. The mummified bodies for example - were we supposed to know who they were, or what connection they had to the other characters? It went over my head if so. I had previously read and not enjoyed a book by this author, and this went much the same way. It's very strong writing, but in the way that magnets can be strong, and yet still repel each other. ( )
  jayne_charles | Feb 9, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
Flowers bloom again in the disinterred cemetery. Sunlight illuminates the darkness through the broken roof of the church. Though progress brings suffering and death, the balance, as Baratte knows, "will still be in your favour". As Miller proves with this dazzling novel, it is not certainty we need but courage, now as much as ever, before we too are reduced to bones.
added by riverwillow | editThe Guardian, Clare Clark (Jun 24, 2011)
 
Purifying centuries of decaying mortality and removing the miasma that permeates the dwellings, skin and even food of the area is neither simple nor necessarily popular. Miller threads into this fabric subtle ideas about modernity, glancing at Voltaire, public health and the seditious graffiti that anticipate the revolutionary fervour of 1789 - just four years away.
 
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
The time will come when the sun will shine only on free men who have no master but their reason. Marquis de Condorcet
Dedication
In memory of my father, Dr Keith Miller, and of my friends, Patrick Warren and George Lachlan Brown.
First words
A young man, young but not very young, sits in an anteroom somewhere, some wing or other, in the Palace of Versailles.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Publisher series
Original language
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary
How do you remove
A cemetery in Paris?
Bone by bone, it seems.
(passion4reading)

No descriptions found.

Engineer Jean-Baptiste Baratte is tasked with emptying an overflowing cemetery in Paris in 1785, work he considers noble until he begins to suspect that the destruction of the cemetery parallels his own fate and the demise of social order.

» see all 7 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.65)
0.5
1 4
1.5 1
2 15
2.5 9
3 72
3.5 38
4 125
4.5 16
5 32

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 134,757,057 books! | Top bar: Always visible