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Angelo (Panther) Paperback – 3 Aug 1995

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About the Author

JEAN GIONO (1895-1970) was born in Manosque, Provence, the son of an Italian cobbler, and lived there most of his life. He supported his family working as a clerk for eighteen years ( with an interval serving in the ranks in the First World War) before his first two novels were published, thanks to the generosity of Andre Gide, to critical acclaim. He went on to write thirty novels and numerous essays and stories, as well as poetry and plays. In 1953 he was awarded the Prix Monegasque for his collective work. The same year, he made a prescient contribution to the "ecological" movement with his novella The Man who Planted Trees. This, and his novel The Horseman on the Roof, which was made into a highly-acclaimed film starring Olivier Martinez and Juliette Binoche, are also published by Harvill. Jean Giono married in 1920 and had two daughters. Angelo is the first of a group of four novels all featuring the same cavalry-officer hero. It was not the first to be written: having completed the three others, Mort d'un personage, Le Hussard sur le toit (The Horseman on the Roof), and Le Bonheur fou, the author returned to his sketch for Le Hussard sur le toit and fleshed it out to provide the hero with a previous history.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Angelic! 27 Nov. 2001
By Eric Brotheridge - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this prior to The Horseman on the Roof. Probably not a good idea even though the author indicates that Angelo is a prequel of sorts. The events found in this novel/study kept throwing me as I read Horseman eventhough I was well aware that it is a character study of the Angelo in Horseman. Perhaps if I had read Horseman first my preference would be reversed. In any event...
This novel/study is a love story! Compact, austere, wrenching! What I did not get from Horseman, I got from this book..lyrical, lovely Giono! For example: "We must take care not to grow passionately fond of anything that is not worth the trouble." Angelo continually muses over how his heart has been stolen by a lovely perfume-fragrance which comes to symbolize a life worth living. What lady wears such a fragrance? Will Angelo ever meet her? The answers to these questions lie in both Angelo and The Horseman on the Roof.
Read separately 30 Aug. 2011
By Queen Margo - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Angelo is a beautiful book -- in many ways almost a poem. The character is a beautiful romantic hero, so ideal that he cannot be true. Anghelo's youthful idealism and his platonic love for the married heroine Pauline is what makes the book riveting.

Giono's writing is, simply said, beautiful. But it is also frustrating. I read this book as part of the series about Angelo and, yes, understood that it was a study of his character and a sort of "prequel" to "The Horseman opn the Roof."

But it is still not clear why Angelo's and Pauline's first meeting happens in different places and times in the two books. In "Angelo" - they meet at her husband's chateau after Angelo helped bring home Pauline's elderly sister in law.

In "The Horseman" they meet for the first time in a townhouse in cholera-afflicted Provence after he crawled in it from the roof. And then he takes her home to her elderly husband at the chateau.

Another frustrating aspect of the book is the plotting and secrecy between the French characters who seem to be seeking to use Angelo (an Italian) for some nefarious purpose. But it is never quite clear what that purpose is. These "missing" aspects make the book feel like an incomplete work, for me at least, and keep it far from other great works of literature.

The book still gets four stars because it kept me riveted with its beauty of thoughts and the likeability of the main character. It should be read separately from other books on Angelo, including "The Horseman on the Roof" and "The Straw Man." But it, sort of, goes together with the last (and smallest) book in the series "La morte d'une personnage" which deals with Pauline's old age and her death sans Angelo, and is only available in French.
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