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A Dark Stranger by Julien Gracq
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A Dark Stranger (edition 2009)

by Julien Gracq, Christopher Moncrieff (Translator)

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1011119,589 (4)22
Member:dbvisel
Title:A Dark Stranger
Authors:Julien Gracq
Other authors:Christopher Moncrieff (Translator)
Info:Pushkin Press (2009), Edition: Gift edition, Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
Rating:
Tags:fiction, french, novel, surrealism

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A Dark Stranger by Julien Gracq

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I can easily see why some readers might find this book frustrating: The plot is inconspicuous, the characters are shown as psychological forces rather than as distinct personalities, the dialogue is unrealistic--in fact, the characters for the most part write and speak all in the same voice--and the style demands a very leisurely reading.

It's the style that overwhelmed me--Gracq's writing is the richest I've encountered. As a rule I've little patience with detailed descriptive and metaphorical prose, and Gracq's is certainly that. But perhaps because the overall effect seems the detailing of a dream, or a reverie, or imaginings from a just-awakening doze rather than of the quotidian world, I was drawn into the book and lingered with it. Even when Gracq is recounting his characters' ideas and opinions it's with the same lush and oblique style. For an idea of it, this is from the book's second paragraph, describing a seaside resort in late autumn:

'Soon the great maritime grisaille will restore this whole scene to primary colours--here and there a subtle pigmentation takes hold, puddle by puddle--salt blanches the surface of walls, turns metal railings a jarring red. . . a sudden, unexpected encroachment pervades this little town, harsh and grey like the salt and the coral, with the vague traces of a fire gone cold, of a dried-up tidal wave.'

I'm embarrassed that it took me so long to get around to reading Gracq; I'll certainly be reading more of him.
  bluepiano | Dec 30, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Julien Gracqprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hoyningen-Huene, Baron GeorgeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moncrieff, ChristopherTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
They that have the power hurt and will do none,
That do not do the thing they most do show,
Who, moving others, are themselves as stone,
Unmoved, cold, and to temptation slow;
They rightly do inherit heaven's graces,
And husband nature's riches from expense;
They are the lords and owners of their faces,
Others but stewards of their excellence...

Sonnet XCIV William Shakespeare
Dedication
For Roger Veillé
First words
During these fleeting, drifting days of late autumn I recall with special fondness the paths on that little beach at the close of the season, suddenly strangely overwhelmed by silence.
J'évoque, dans ces journées glissantes, fuyantes, de l'arrière-automne, avec une prédilection particulière les avenues de cette petit palge, dans le déclin de la saison soudain singulièrement envahies par le silence.
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