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1 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

This title in other editions

By a Slow River


By a Slow River Cover

ISBN13: 9781400042807
ISBN10: 1400042801
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

edna200, July 13, 2009 (view all comments by edna200)
Once you start reading Philippe Claudel's by A Slow River
you know you've hit the road. There's no turning back.
His tight prose draws you in, instantly, like iron to a magnet,
breaking all barriers , leaving you naked facing the truth.
Above all, it's a story of memory and loss and the different
ways you negotiate with death to bring back all that was lost,
the fleeting memories, the ancient photographs and the old
notebook. The narrator, a former policeman sets on a quest
into the past ,delving into the shadows trying to discover
what really happened in a small French town he calls V
where two bodies were suddenly found by the slow river.
The time being 1917 when the horrors and the atrocities
of the war started infiltrating into this small, peaceful town.
Claudel builds up his story around two narratives, which
at first glance seem totally different one from the other.
One narrative focuses on the front zone where people
kill and get killed daily. The other one focuses on this
small town where people try hard to carry on with their
lives as if the horror of the war, just behind that hill,
was none of their business.
But once two bodies are found these two narrative become,
as it were, one narrative, that is; they share the same potential
for destruction and death. It's no more about 'them over the
hill" but rather about "all of us", no matter when and where.
Evil has turned to be an integral part of human nature,
reaching its climax when the narrator kills his own little son.
With Claudel there's no white and black. Just grey souls.
Evil and goodness are, forever, intertwined . Life will always
stay a mystery, opaque and unreachable, turning human nature
into a complex and ambiguous mosaic.
The murders remained unsolved and eventually, it's not really
important to find the killer. After all , potentially, we're all killers,
either in words, thoughts or deeds.
No dialogue with death can bring back the sweetness and beauty
of Morning Glory, the ten year girl found dead by the river. Nor
can it explain the death of the young teacher who came to teach
in that town where she finally found her death.
All that's left is the next coming day.
How it's going to end nobody knows, nor does Claudel.

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catfish, April 15, 2009 (view all comments by catfish)
Beautifully and hauntingly written, By A Slow River is the story of a child's murder. But it is much more-- the story of a small French town a few miles from the fromt in WW I, the ramblings of a policeman who is haunted by the past, characters who try to live a normal life in the shadow of the war, a town haunted by death. The ambiguity and atmosphere of the book
remain with you long after it ends.
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Product Details

Claudel, Philippe
Rogers, Hoyt
Philippe Claudel
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.4 x 5.7 x 1.1 in .8 lb

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

By a Slow River Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$15.95 In Stock
Product details 208 pages Alfred A. Knopf - English 9781400042807 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Nimbly translated, French former screenwriter Claudel's little gem of a debut novel is, in essence, a whodunit. On a frigid morning in December 1917, the body of a 10-year-old girl is discovered, strangled, on the banks of the 'slow' river that slices through a small, unnamed French village. The townsfolk are stunned by the murder, though they're curiously oblivious to the seemingly endless slaughter taking place on the nearby Western front. Told by Dadais, a former policeman with a sharp memory and (it gradually becomes apparent) a shadowy history of his own, the story is a re-creation of his dogged pursuit of the killer. Was it the town's haughty prosecutor, Pierre-Ange Destinat? Was it the Breton deserter who confesses under duress? Could it possibly have been Dadais himself? The answer, like everything else in the story, is far from tidy — aside from its construction, that is. Psychologically complex, elegantly written and tightly plotted, this is far from your average policier. (June 15)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Overwhelmingly compelling....As riveting as the story line is, the setting, ambience, and lovely language...partner to flavor this novel with punch and spice."
"Review" by , "[T]ales of murder, torture, and suicide unfold gradually, like the petals of a poisonous flower, delivering staggering plot twists up to the final page."
"Review" by , "Achingly beautiful...[with an] air of universal fable: baleful and tragic yet curiously enlivening."
"Review" by , "A bloodless, nihilistic, open-ended whodunit."
"Review" by , "[A] mystery with literary ambitions....[I]ts pace is as languid and calm as the river of its title....[F]illed with a gloomy beauty..."
"Review" by , "Evokes, with Poe-like mastery, the fog of apprehension that seeps into a small town after the murder of a young girl."
"Synopsis" by , In this indelible meditation on morality, the daily life of a small French town is shattered by the deaths of three innocents during the First World War.
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