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The Foundling Boy by [Déon, Michel]
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The Foundling Boy Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Product Description

Review

Quiet, wryly funny prose ... a delight --Independent on Sunday

Remarkable ... Rooted in 19th-century realism but profoundly subversive of its conventions ... Deserves a place alongside Flaubert's Sentimental Education and Le Grand Meaulnes. --New Statesman

A big-hearted coming-of-age shaggy-dog story ... Leaves you feeling better about life --The Spectator

Inspired by Henry Fielding's 18th-century novel Tom Jones, about a similarly clueless but likable character making his way on the road of life. As witty as its English forebear but with French savoir-faire, The Foundling Boy may win new readers for books translated from French. --New York Times

A big-hearted coming-of-age shaggy-dog story ... Leaves you feeling better about life --The Spectator

About the Author

Michel Déon is a member of the Académie française. Born in Paris in 1919, he is the author of more than fifty works.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1151 KB
  • Print Length: 417 pages
  • Publisher: Gallic Books (2 Dec. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00GL9R8YK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #215,256 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Liz Barnsley TOP 500 REVIEWER on 5 Dec. 2013
Format: Paperback
Thank you to the publisher for the review copy.

It is 1919. On a summer's night in Normandy, a newborn baby is left in a basket outside the home of Albert and Jeanne Arnaud. The childless couple take the foundling in, name him Jean, and decide to raise him as their own, though his parentage remains a mystery.

Though Jean's life is never dull, he grows up knowing little of what lies beyond his local area. Until the day he sets off on his bicycle to discover the world, and encounters a Europe on the threshold of interesting times .

I adored this novel. Evocative and compelling we follow Jean on a journey through life and through a very specific time in History, I was completely and utterly fascinated during the entirety of the reading experience. I have read a lot of novels set around each of the World Wars but I think this is the first for me set in a world holding its breath...and that is kind of the feeling I got throughout this story.

Jean sets off on his bicycle...what he will find we cannot imagine, and he is a perfect host on a journey of discovery. At turns irresistable, passionate, moving and eloquent you will soon find yourself lost in the pages. I say no more - if you love Historical stories you will adore this. Even if it is not your normal choice I would still recommend you give this one a try. It has a very particular feel about it and may surprise you. The sense of place is just amazing and the desriptive prose is beautiful. A character with true heart and a peek at a world now behind us makes this a heartfelt read.

When I was done I was inspired to look up some information about the author, and was surprised to find, considering the quality, that much of his work remains unavailable in English.
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Format: Paperback
I'm a francophile and loved every word of this novel. It is set in an uneasy time in French history, the period between the two World Wars of the 20th century and is concerned with the growing up from infancy to early manhood of Jean Arnaud in rural Normandie. All of the large cast of characters are engaging, and not so unbelievable as to detract from the series of storylines that run through the book. The writer's ability to capture the charm of the land of France reminded me of the Brive novels of Claude Michelet, but "The Foundling Boy" is much funnier and I knew that I would not be rushing to get to the end -- the writing and the translation made me want to linger and to read the sequel that is flagged up in the last pages. My only niggle is a daft one -- I don't think André Leducq's bike would have had derailleur gears in the 1932 Tour de France (pp. 100 and 159) as I am pretty certain they did not become race-legal until 1937. Never mind, Jean swapped cycling for rowing which fits his character better!
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By AJS (London) TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 23 Oct. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Foundling Boy is the first book of a probable duology. Originally published in French in 1975 and now very sympathetically translated into English and re-published for the English-speaking world, which is significantly broader than that of the French speaker.

The time point of this book is in the months immediately following the 1918 Armistice and it tells the story of the childhood and early adult years of its subject, Jean. At the beginning of the book, a baby is left at the doorstep of a couple who decide to keep and bring up the child. It is a story with both pathos and gentle humour and should prove to be engaging to its readers as they follow Jean through the stages of his growing up and his travels in young adulthood across a war-torn Europe trying to rebuild and to recover.

Both books share a minor and unimportant choice of presentation that appears slightly strange - there are no numbered or titled chapters.

Although this first book had not knowingly benefitted from any reviews from the British press and media, there are some from their French equivalents, all very positive. The second book had been compared with the British classic, Tom Jones and also with the writing of Flaubert and that is also substantially true of this, the earlier volume.

With its follow-up, they are possibly the best fiction works read not only this year but for several years previously.
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Format: Paperback
The Foundling Boy by Michél Déon (brilliantly translated by Julian Evans) has been brought to the English language by Gallic Books, who sent me a copy to read and review.

It is set in France, in the years between the wars and has a really engaging storyline. In the summer of 1919 a newborn baby is left in a basket outside the home of a childless couple in Normandy. They take him in, call him Jean and raise him as their own in their simple but honest ways. The Foundling Boy is the story of Jean's life, that is both ordinary and fascinating, up to the outbreak of the Second World War.

There is a great cast of very different characters whose lives are intricately linked, lots of secrets and a story that twists, moves and turns in circles as lives are lived in Normandy, the South of France and London. I had my suspicions about Jean's mother from the start, but the more the story moved the less important her identity seemed. A few times we seem to get close to knowing, then off we go again in another direction satisfying Jean's thirst for adventure, so that finding out the truth doesn't seem to be as important as it was at the beginning.

This book is different to what I usually read, but I really enjoyed it, especially the passages where the author breaks off the narration to talk directly to the reader. This was different, amusing and perfect for filling in information and adding a bit extra to the extra-ordinary story of Jean's life. It is a bigger than average paperback book but I got to the end and desperately wanted to continue reading the next part of Jean's life.
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