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from Lawrence Olszewski in Library Journal — a review of The Serpent of Stars


Appearing for the first time in English, Giono’s 1933 work is essentially an extended prose poem with no traditional narrative, the action occurring obliquely or by insinuation. Yet a compelling mood engulfs the reader, who tacitly and willingly accompanies protagonists, shepherds on their drive in idyllic southern France. Poetic images abound, especially in reference to the sky and sea, and each sentence practically stands by itself. In the novel’s culmination which is especially unusual and poetic, the herders perform an allegorical “shepherds’ play” with the cast representing such primal forces as the Sea and a Mountain. An exercise as intellectual as it is aesthetic, the book shares with Giono’s other works, especially the classic The Man Who Planted Trees, and ecological obsession. Not for every taste but a reward for those with patience and sensitivity. Recommended for larger public and academic libraries.

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