Peter Owen Publishers | Paperback | 80 pages
Published: December 2008
In his wonderful story of Elzéard Bouffier, an imaginary yet wholly believable shepherd, Jean Giono perhaps hoped to inspire an afforestation programme that would renew the whole earth. The story of the shepherd shows us all that is best in man’s relationship with nature and with his fellow man. For Giono, nature is a living force in which man can rediscover the depth and harmony he has lost in urban life. Michael McCurdy’s beautiful woodcuts, which accompany the text, have helped establish this book as a classic.
JEAN GIONO (1895–1971) is among the most distinguished of French writers. He wrote more than thirty novels, as well as many short stories, plays, poetry, essays and film scripts. Many of his books have been translated into English, including Two Riders of the Stormand the classic of First World War fiction To the Slaughterhouse, both available as Peter Owen Modern Classics.
‘One of those amazing stories that is even more relevant now than before because we are screaming to find a new way of bringing new life to the planet. This is the most compelling book I know and maybe the most important. Wish I’d written it myself. Very cross about that.’ – Michael Morpurgo, Guardian
‘This is a lovely, poignant little book by one of the most distinguished 20th-century French writers.’ – Sunday Times
‘Michael McCurdy’s gentle woodcuts enhance this haunting little 1950s tale . . . a version of pastoral, regenerating a whole landscape and community.’ – Observer