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The Stones of the Abbey by Fernand Pouillon
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The Stones of the Abbey (1964)

by Fernand Pouillon

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (3)  French (1)  All languages (4)
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Les Pierres Sauvages (The Stones of the Abbey) is by French architect Fernand Pouillon. He wrote the novel while in jail, in 1964, making it a modern specimen of the ancient genre of prison literature popularized by Boethius pondering lady fortune. Pouillon was known for constructing large cheap housing complexes, and was jailed on charges related to his work as a building contractor. He also restored some castles, and while in prison it was an inward imaginative turn to the Medieval that led to this curious novel about the construction of a 12th century Abbey in Provence (based on a real Abbey and people). Somewhat reminiscent of The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco is blurbed on the front cover, it's more contemplative and realistic.

While not a page turner, there is no mystery driving it forward, there are settings and descriptions that offer insight into the period, and the process of building a large stone Abbey. The bottleneck to building a stone structure is the laborious nature of cutting and transporting the stone itself, each block being a major piece of work whose production is limited by the number of workers, mules to carry it and distance from quarry. The novel is told in diary format by the master builder (the contractor) who has to deal with management issues - getting supplies, motivating monks to work, resolving disputes, health and food. The nature of the writing and vocabulary demands slow reading, monkish even, one has the impression of stepping back into another era. The book has a classic feel and will be just as interesting in 100 years time, though its audience will likely remain limited to those with an academic interest in the Middle Ages. ( )
1 vote Stbalbach | Mar 9, 2018 |
Good, but for some reason I lost momentum. One to return to...
  ben_a | Feb 12, 2011 |
Recreates the building of the twelfth-century abbey of Le Thoronet from the viewpoint of the master builder, describing how he overcomes political troubles, spiritual self-doubt, injury, and disease to raise his monument to God, his Order, and himself.
1 vote stmarysasheville | May 25, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Fernand Pouillonprimary authorall editionscalculated
亨, 荒木Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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A Joséphine, Violette, Fernand,
à mes enfants,
à tous ceux qui se sont battus pour moi, avec moi
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Dimanche de l'Oculi.
La pluie a pénétré nos habits, le gel a durci le lourd tissu de nos coules, figé nos barbes, raidi nos membres. La boue a maculé nos mains, nos pieds et nos visages, le vent nous a recouvert de sable. LeE mouvement de la marche ne balance plus les plis glacés de nos corps décharnés.
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