on 19 October 2010
Anyone who hasn't read the first two books in this series of 4 should start with "La Gloire de mon Pere". For those of you who enjoyed the first two, this book is a must. The story carries on from where "Le Chateau de ma Mere" left off; that is, it carries on from the end of the main action, rather than from the point to which the sad final paragraphs take us in the form of an epilogue.
This book starts off in much the same vein as the other two, but the action takes place in more locations, rather than just in the idyllic surroundings of the family's holiday home, and the introduction of a new character prevents the book from being a re-run of the first two. The cover shows Marcel pushing Isabel on a swing, illustrating a very amusing part of the novel, if a little embarrassing for the main character that we've grown to love.
We learn about Marcel's grandparents, whose poignant but funny story is told in flashback.
Everyone must grow up sometime, however, and when the family return home it is time for Marcel to get ready to start at his new school, for which he has been awarded a scholarship. The tone changes slightly and into this lighthearted world come cares - our friend has to deal with being a small fish in a large pond and culture shock sets in, while his being a day boarder inevitably changes the dynamics of this happy family. There are still plenty of laughs, though, and it's impossible not to fight Marcel's battles with him as he works at becoming more at ease in his new surroundings.
on 25 April 2015
This is one of four books that are allegedly autobiographical by Marcel Pagnol. It doesn't take long to realise in the earlier books that Pagnol had a vivid cinematic imagination and that the occasional embellishment to add texture and flavour to his books happens so effortlessly that it is easy to believe they are the truth.
The first book "La Gloire de mon Pere" made me chuckle several times.
But this book was not as exuberant. It has a mixture of themes re adolescence, Pagnol's friend Lili is no longer free to wander the hills with him all day. There is work to be done with the Harvest and he is considered old enough and strong enough to pull his weight. So Pagnol has free time and discovers his first somewhat disturbing yet innocent dalliance with a young lady, casually letting his friend Lili down several times, apparently shamelessly.
The summer ends and he starts the second stage of his education, life in the Lycee in Marseilles. For a description of life in a Lycee in the early nineteen hundreds this book takes some beating, the building, the teachers, the daily pattern of lessons all described so vividly, you can almost see in your mind's eye the images Pagnol paints with words for you.
Amazingly out of a pace of schooling that comes across as interminably slow and monotonous, Pagnol finds a way to spice the book up and leads it to an unexpected conclusion.
I am glad I have read this book but I am even more grateful that I do not need to study it because for me, it falls into the category of a book that once read, it is read and doesn't need to be re-read. ( Unless of course you are studying the Lycee system in France !!)
on 12 April 2014
Charming...funny...precise...everything described in it becomes relevant due to the point of view and tone in which it is presented...a very rare combination of humour and seriousness (and the first doesn't take anything away from the second!), of jokes that are at the same time completely true...it manages to create a wonderful, incredibly precise atmosphere in a single paragraph, a state of mind, etc...wonerful. I've starting Pagnol's other books, because now I feel like reading him only for some more time.