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    The Book of Nights (Paperback) By (author) Sylvie Germain, Translated by Christine Donougher

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  • Full bibliographic data for The Book of Nights

    Title
    The Book of Nights
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Sylvie Germain, Translated by Christine Donougher
    Physical properties
    Format: Paperback
    Number of pages: 288
    Width: 129 mm
    Height: 198 mm
    ISBN
    ISBN 13: 9781873982006
    ISBN 10: 1873982003
    Classifications

    BIC E4L: GEN
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: F1.1
    BIC subject category V2: FA
    DC20: 843.914
    BIC subject category V2: FYT
    BIC E4L: TRA
    BISAC V2.8: FIC000000
    Thema V1.0: FBA, FYT
    Publisher
    DEDALUS LTD
    Imprint name
    DEDALUS LTD
    Publication date
    13 October 1992
    Publication City/Country
    Cambs
    Review text
    Germain's sixth book is her first to appear in English: a poetic saga that sweeps its way through a century of French history by following the generations of a symbol-rich family. First in the publisher's new Verba Mundi series of modern-world literature. "In those days the Peniels were still fresh-water people," begins the story, sometime before 1870 and the Franco-Prussian War. A riverman who captains a barge named The Mercy of God all but gives up on fatherhood before his wife Vitalie, following six stillbirths, delivers a fine boy - and the saga begins. Theodore-Faustin Peniel, soft of voice and shy of manner, will grow up, marry out of passionate love, have children, but then become changed forever when he's hideously deformed in the battle of Sedan. Madness, sorrow - and incestuous love with his own daughter - will result in the birth of Victor-Flandrin, who because of a fleck of gold in his left eye is known as "Night-of-Gold." In time, carrying with him seven tears wept by his father and the quivering light of his mother's shadow (which protects him even from a wolf), Victor-Flandrin settles in a farm village called Blackland - where he will have 15 children by five wives, and live through WW I (although a son won't) and WW II (although many, including a wife and children, won't) before his own humble and yet majestic death. Germain succumbs at times to a pseudo-biblical saga-style ("And their hearts in turn had taken root, even flowering like wild roses..."), or descends to a philosophic rudimentism ("Only the earth remained inalterably the same..."), but her genuine lyric and narrative powers - a bleeding birthmark, a tamed wolf, grievous deaths, miraculous loves - on balance keep her craft grandly asail. Sometimes short on inner energy, but, overall, a gloriously beautiful, gem-studded tapestry of human desire and suffering. (Kirkus Reviews)