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on 17 April 2004
Sometimes you will read a book that is so good it will leave an impression that will remain with you long after you have finished the last page. Alain-Fournier's "Le Grand Meaulnes is one such book.
Set around the turn of the last century, this story is part romance, part mystery and part a nostalgic evocation of youth and centres around the story of Meaulnes who stumbles upon a party held within an enchanting chateau that neither the hero nor the narrator are able to find again.It is at this party that Meaulnes meets a girl who, whilst beguiling him, remains as elusive as the chateau. All these events take place within the mysterious countryside of The Berry in France, an area readers of Gillian Tindells' excellent "Celestine" will be very familiar with and will know as having the same ambience as such remote parts of England as Dartmoor.
Having read many translations of French literature, there is no other book that so beautifully captures village life and childhood as this book. The book is full of nostalgia and paints a vivd picture of everyday life in a small village, particularly it's school. Tragically, the author was killed in action during 1914, one year after "Le Grand Meaulnes" was published and, unfortunately,remained the only book that he wrote. It very much captures the tragedy of that generation, rather like Housman's "Shropshire Lad" poems do in English literature.
"Le Grand Meaulnes" is one of my favourite books of all time and I would unreservedly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a well-crafted and poetic read. An absolute classic.
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on 8 September 2000
Le Grand Meulnes is the larger-than-life school boy who falls in love with a girl from a strange "domain". He spends much of the book trying to get back to this place. The story is an odd mixture of realism and fantasy. You are never quite sure whether the fantastic elements are simply the results of the school boys yearning imagination. In the end it is the narrator, the friend of le grand Meulnes, who haunted me. He is so ordinary and boring that he makes le grand Meulnes seem even more impossible and glamourous. And yet it is the narrator who we all probably most resemble. Perhaps with flashes of Meulnes if we are lucky. John Fowles descibed "Le Grand Meulnes" as a novel that "has haunted the european mind since it first appeared in 1913. It is a novel one never quite forgets, a book like a secret garden..." .
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on 11 March 2006
Once in a blue moon you'll read a book and it hurts! It hurts because you realise that you can never ever read that book again for the first time! It is almost like finding out how a magic trick is done. this is one of those books. It has that special factor which so few books have. I will forever be caught up in the nostalgia created by this wonderful book and will always think back with fond memories to the time i read it first and look forawrd to reading it many more times. The loss of this brilliant author is equal to the loss of Meaulnes's lost domain!
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on 23 June 2006
Hello,

I know that enthusiastic reviews of products can become tiresome but, please, persevere with this.

I was introduced, reluctantly, to 'Le Grand Meaulnes' at school by an energetic French master at 16 - I loathed the book. I read it again at 17, 18 and for most years since then and I am now a 45-year-old doctor. I know of no other novel that captures that exquisite, fleeting madness of adolescent love and infatuation, when ones love becomes everything and leads one to absurd extremes - of that mystic realm where reason is meaningless. Please read it. You may hate it and castigate Meaulnes or the narrator for their idiocies, but open your heart and ask if, in their position, you would have done otherwise? A shining work.
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on 11 March 2002
This is one of the classics of 20th century literature, a powerful tale of magical youth and troubled adolescence, I fell in love with this book instantly. The fact that it turned out to be Alain-Fournier's only work adds to the aura of mystery surrounding it. This edition is attractive and well presented.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 19 November 2013
This is the original French version of Alain-Fournier's exquisite novel. Opening in the 1890s in rural France, this deals in romantic obsession: with a lost past, a lost love, an always elusive ideal.

Written in 1912 and published in 1913, a year before Alain-Fournier died in WW1, this is a deeply Romantic novel in lots of ways, drawing on European traditions such as those of Petrarch, Keats, and Goethe - yet is also `modern' in its attention to memory and desire, and it is no coincidence that it was published in the same year as the first part of Proust's A La Recherche du Temps Perdu. The central episode at the mysterious chateau seems to look back, especially, to the poems of Verlaine (Fêtes Galantes).

There are various English translations of this book but I've recently read the new translation by Frank Davison published by Oxford University Press which is excellent: The Lost Domain.

For a haunting, spellbinding, tender and deeply, yet satisfyingly, melancholic read, this is highly recommended.
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on 10 May 2015
This book is a joke. It is appalling. I bought what I though was an English translation of this much loved French novel but it appears to have been translated using Google translate, or some other automated service. It is bad, worse than bad it is unreadable. Don't bother with it and if anyone from Amazon reads this, please remove it from your site before your reputation is damaged. I know you can't read everything that you sell but the first page, reproduced below, should have given you a clue

We lived in the buildings of the Superior Court of Sainte- Agathe. My father, whom I called Mr. Seurel, like other students, including managing both the higher courts, where they were preparing the patent teacher, and the average price. My mother was the small class.

See?

So bad it is quite funny!!
It won't let me post zero stars!!
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on 22 September 2014
This book seems to have been translated by a computer programme which renders the text completely unintelligible. I deleted it immediately from my kindle and never received a refund for it. It should be illegal to publish books like that and charge money for it.
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on 3 September 2014
A desperately poor 'translation' made by someone who was clearly not an English-speaker. In fact, it's so bad that I think we deserve a refund from Amazon for it, or at least an explanation of how this version came to be accepted for sale.
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At the start of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca the narrator reminds us that ‘we can never go back again’ as, in her dream, she wanders the winding, overgrown path to Manderley. Likewise, George Webber, Thomas Wolfe’s ‘hero’ reluctantly concludes, that ‘you can’t go home again’ at the end of his novel of the same name. And this, in essence, is the theme that haunts this elegiac tale of childhood lost and with it the innocence that often, in adulthood, we wish was ours still to claim.

The story of Augustin Meaulnes or, Le Grand Meaulnes, as he is entitled by its narrator, Francois Seurel, 15 years old at the story’s opening, begins when 17 year old Augustin becomes a pupil in the school run by Francois’ father. Its setting is the small village of Saint-Agathe in the Department of Cher about as close to the centre of France as you can get, in the years leading up to the Great War. The two boys quickly become friends and the older boy soon becomes the kind of hero-like figure that features, commonly, in the developing life of a post-pubescent teen-aged boy. Augustin has a charm and a certain otherwordliness absent in the other pupils with whom Francois is familiar and he is keen to enter into the adventures that friendship with Le Grand Meaulnes suggest might be forthcoming.

Instead, taking off in the dead of night, Augustin embarks on his own escapade; one that will determine the direction in which his life, and those close to him, from then on, will travel. On his return he appears distracted and preoccupied and, eventually, relates his adventure to Francois.

This is a wonderfully written, haunting, tale that will, in all likelihood, remain with the reader long after the last word is read, which accurately recalls all of the sweet pain of youth, during which dreams and life become one and the world seems replete with possibility.
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