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Translated Books

Spiridion by George Sand

An abbot’s ghost searches for an intelligent monk to exhume his manuscript from a hellish crypt and learn the truth that monks lack two things: freedom of inquiry and benevolence.

Read three quite long reviews of it on Amazon.  Here’s a sample from one review:

“I feel that someone needs to point out what an important publishing event this English translation of George Sand’s Spiridion (1839) constitutes. According to translator Patricia J. Worth, the only previous English copy of the novel was a very old and virtually unobtainable edition. Her rendering of Sand’s “Gothic philosophical novel,’ as she describes it, into clear and flowing modern prose is thus a gift for anyone willing and able to take advantage of it. Although not an easy read, and presumably only for those deeply interested in matters of spirituality and human psychology, the work, set completely in a Catholic monastery (and thus portraying absolutely no women characters), offers great challenges and rewards for believers and non-believers alike (a needful disclaimer—I am an agnostic who nevertheless has often found inspiration in the sacred texts and great teachers of all faiths).”

Read a few more reviews on Goodreads, and on Francine Maessen’s blog, all available for free online. Another excellent review is available in the French Australian Review no. 63, but not for free.

Winter Tales by Eugène-Melchior de Vogüé
 
For fans of Turgenev and Tolstoy, these 19th-century tales set in Russia and told by French author E-M de Vogüé are now available in the first English translation in 123 years. The narrator visits a former serf owner who tells of the ups and downs in the lives of peasants struggling to live freely after serfdom is abolished.
 

The Mask

In New Caledonian bushland a woman rents a bamboo house where she finds an exotic mask. It’s just the impetus she needs to begin her writing career. She talks to the mask and it responds…

A bilingual New Caledonian short story in French and English. The Mask may be purchased from noiraublanc.fr.

Life Sentence and The Blue Cross

It’s mid-twentieth century when two New Caledonian men contract leprosy and reflect on what they call their ‘life sentence’, but when a cure is discovered they realise it wasn’t the end of life after all.

And in today’s New Caledonia, an indigenous woman tolerates her alcoholic husband until his behaviour affects their child. She considers leaving but a charity, the Blue Cross, offers to help him.

A bilingual New Caledonian book in French and English. Life Sentence and The Blue Cross may be purchased from noiraublanc.fr.