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- Publisher: VINTAGE
- Format: Paperback | 336 pages
- Dimensions: 128mm x 194mm x 24mm | 281g
- Publication date: 26 October 2004
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0099453886
- ISBN 13: 9780099453888
- Sales rank: 80,087
Gabriel Chevallier's delightful novel Clochemerle satirizes the titanic confrontation of secular and religious forces in a small wine-growing village in Beaujolais. The eruption begins when the socialist mayor decides that he wants to leave behind a monument to his administration's achievements. He takes as his model the ancient Romans, who were famous for two things: hygiene and noble edifices. Thus, he decides to unite the two concepts...by constructing a public urinal in the centre of town. There is one problem, however. The chosen locale is next to the village church, and this outrages the ecclesiastical party.
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Gabriel Chevallier was born in Lyon in May 1895. He wrote Clochemerle in 1934 and Propre a Rien in 1938. He died in Cannes in April 1969.
"The plot is a marvel of ingenuity and makes most detective stories look primitive by comparison" -- John Brophy "A fine satire, filled with humorous incidents and much subtle philosophy. It is for intelligent, open-minded people with a sense of humour" Yorkshire Post "The author has a wonderful eye for village types, and the village of Clochemerle is built up for us as a shining and integrated whole - he has chosen to employ his great talents in describing a series of people, episoded and conversations that are ribald, exaggerated and bizarre. I must confess that its rollicking grossness pleased me" Howard Spring "A full-blooded uproarious farce in the Rabelaisian tradition" Times Literary Supplement
The pretty wine-growing village of Clochemerle-en-Beaujolais in 1922 is inhabited by a collection ofoddballs from across the social spectrum. The mayor wants to leave a fitting testament to his successful time in public office, and opts for a urinal, all in the interest of 'public health as well as public morals.' Unfortunately, morals appear to be far down the list of priorities for the majority of the villagers, a motley assortment of winegrowers, artisans, old maids and aristocrats. Promiscuity, gossip and chronic halitosis are all woven together by Chevallier's unhurried, descriptive prose, and his gently amusing observations are complemented by illustrations which bring the cast wonderfully to life. The author has a great eye for his characters' idiosyncrasies and clearly enjoys unravelling the dangerous dynamics of the small town's politics and relationships. His mischievous yarn - first published in 1936 - still manages to amuse and delight. (Kirkus UK)