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Le Rivage des Syrtes

4.13  ·  Rating Details  ·  432 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
À la suite d'un chagrin d'amour, Aldo se fait affecter par le gouvernement de la principauté d'Orsenna dans une forteresse sur le front des Syrtes. Il est là pour observer l'ennemi de toujours, replié sur le rivage d'en face, le Farghestan. Aldo rêve de franchir la frontière, y parvient, aidé par une patricienne, Vanessa Aldobrandi dont la famille est liée au pays ennemi. ...more
Broché, 321 pages
Published by Librairie José Corti (first published 1951)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,791)
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I enjoyed this book. I did not enjoy it as much as some books I have read but I did enjoy it more than some other books I have read. The things that the words said happened were interesting to me. Some of the sentences were less interesting to me than some of the other sentences. Some of the sentences that were less interesting to me were less interesting to me because I had read similar things in different sentences in different books on previous occasions. During reading the pages I sometimes ...more

** Unfinished **

You stand at the shore taking in the salty air. The waves crashing on the shore sing to you soothingly. A calm smile adorns your face. You look at the horizon and wonder what lies beyond.

You wander around in the quiet, somnolent streets. Like a child digging in the dirt to discover little treasures, you roam the un-walked paths unearthing their secrets. The unvisited corners grow intimate and become your safe haven.

You gaze back at your city and its famili
Jeff Jackson
I finished this over a month ago and have been figuring out how to review it. It's one of those rare BURIED novels that's so good I'm actually tempted to *not* to tell anyone else about it. To keep it to myself and try to figure out how to replicate some of its magick. So in that spirit, I'm not going to say too much.

The Opposing Shore has been described as science fiction, but it takes place in an ancient kingdom that's closer to Calvino's Baron in the Trees if that book was more doomstruck an
Jun 13, 2013 Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this thanks to this bit in Enrique Vila-Matas's Dublinesque:
"He'd published lots of important authors, but only in Julien Gracq's novel The Opposing Shore did he perceive any spirit for the future. In his room in Lyon, over the course of endless hours spent locked away, he devoted himself to a theory of the novel that, based on the lessons apparent to him the moment he opened The Opposing Shore, established five elements he considered essential for the novel of the future. These essential e
Nate D
What seems at first to be little more than an exquisitely-described study of a state of suspended history, of the torpor and inertia attending a 300-year ceasefire and decadence of the national machinery, gradually shifts and darkens into something more unsettling. Julien Gracq's principle subject, in a career bisected by WWII and time in a POW camp, seems to be observing through subtle, isolated viewpoints, just where and how the 20th century fell aside, somewhat willingly, into the flames of c ...more
Dec 11, 2015 Carlos_Tongoy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cuatro estrellas con revisión al alza, pues no tengo verdaderas razones para privarlo de la máxima puntuación fuera del consabido criterio de prudencia.
Vit Babenco
Jun 15, 2015 Vit Babenco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Opposing Shore boasts a quite unique atmosphere – it is written in baroque language of nineteen century classical novels and at the same time it is fraught with the Kafkian surreal suspense of a kind that permeates The Castle.
The main character lives among the ruins of stale traditions and decayed formalities so he unconsciously commences to fight the day to day routine of existence. And when one begins to fall in the bottomless abyss of doom there is no way to stop…
Luke Marsden
Jul 20, 2015 Luke Marsden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A strangely atmospheric novel that blends the exotic and prosaic to create a mysterious time and landscape to be swallowed into. It is set between two locations: Orsenna, a fabulous city state of decaying grandeur, living on past glories; and Syrtes, a desert province on a distant and desolate coast to which the protagonist, Aldo, is assigned by the Orsenna Signory to observe naval operations. It is a post that requires almost no effort as the decaying fleet is almost non-existent and nothing ha ...more
Nov 04, 2010 Liviu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: genre-sf, read_2010
INTRODUCTION: Several days ago, I discovered this novel utterly by chance. Published in France almost 60 years ago and an instant classic there honored with the Prix Goncourt - which the author refused after publicly railing against literary prizes - The Opposing Shore hooked me from the first page and I could not leave it before doing this review, though usually I leave some time between reading and reviewing for the book to "settle" in my mind. I also plan to get as many books of the author as ...more
What Buddhist burst of contemplation led Julien Gracq to write this strangely atypical historical fantasy? The Opposing Shore is set in the Venice-like maritime state of Orsenna which faces, across a strait, the Muslim kingdom of Farghestan. We follow the young, ambitious Aldo, who signs up with the Signory to be sent to Syrtes, in the dour old Admiralty fortress which reminds Orsenna that, after three centuries, it is still technically at war with Farghestan.

Most of Aldo's colleagues at the Ad
Nov 28, 2007 Félix rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Mon père
Recommended to Félix by: Le Magazine littéraire
J'ai terminé la lecture du Rivage des Syrtes le 20 janvier 2008! Autant la lecture des premiers paragraphes du roman m'ont laissé une impression vague et complexe, autant le dernier chapitre, les Instances secrètes de la Ville, ont réussi à éclairer d'une façon très brillante et lucide les derniers coins d'ombre qui subsistaient dans mon incompréhension du récit. La dernière page, particulièrement poignante et empreinte d'une critique non pas naïve, mais tout simplement humaine, m'a laissé une i ...more
Oliver Twist & Shout
Apr 30, 2015 Oliver Twist & Shout rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france

A diferencia de otras lecturas decepcionantes, con esta obra de Julien Gracq no me he topado con demasiados elementos que me parecieran ridículos o impostados, sin embargo ha estado muy lejos de interesarme en momento alguno. Cualquier motivo era bueno para pausar su lectura y cualquier motivo era bueno para no retomarla. Intuyo que esto se debe a que Gracq está más atento de marcar paquete que no de documentar la historia.

Las ideas son más bien sencillas (parece que su antídoto universal es el
Artur Coelho
Mar 14, 2016 Artur Coelho rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Há um fortíssimo sensualismo ao longo deste romance sobre decadência plácida. Sente-se isso na introspecção face ao mundo que rodeia os personagens, constantemente traduzida em longas metáforas que preenchem os espaços vazios do deserto e do mar. Estes elementos, bem como o urbanismo decadente, são opressivos e constantes ao longo deste romance desolador.

Acompanhamos o jovem idealista Aldo, filho de uma das melhores famílias de Orsenna. Potência militar e económica que se desvanece, muito inspir
I vacillated on what grade to give this book, how much I really liked it, because while there were some things that I really liked there were also things that really annoyed me. I finally gave it four stars, mostly because I can see myself wanting to reread it some time.

Opposing shore is set in a fictitious European-feeling country named Orsenna, in a time where there are cars and steamboats but no modern feeling to anything. The main character, the one everything is told through in the book, is
Ce que j’ai cherché à faire, entre autres choses, dans Le Rivage des Syrtes, plutôt qu’à raconter une histoire intemporelle, c’est à libérer par distillation un élément volatil, «l’esprit-de-l’Histoire», au sens où on parle d’esprit-de-vin, et à le raffiner suffisamment pour qu’il pût s’enflammer au contact de l’imagination. Il y a dans l’Histoire un sortilège embusqué, un élément qui, quoique mêlé à une masse considérable d’excipient interne, a la vertu de griser. […]
Quand l’Histoire bande ses
An unsettling, abstract French novel very much in the vein of Maurice Blanchot's equally unsettling, abstract "Thomas l'Obscur." There's this country (terraces, sea, desert, shapes like a Di Chirico painting) at war with another country (vaguely sketched Oriental other) and... our protagonist is on guard on the seashore. Like Blanchot, I'm not sure I'm quite capable of appreciating Gracq on the level he's meant to be appreciated, but damn if I won't try. Lyrical, puzzling, fascinating, and while ...more
José Nebreda
He acabado bastante aburrido de tanta metáfora, de tanto simbolismo florido y de tanta repetición. Aunque despierta ecos inequívocos a "El desierto de los tártaros", la novela de Buzzati, con su lírica sencilla, melancólica y precisa es mucho más evocativa y, desde mi punto de vista, muy superior. Y es una pena, porque la novela tiene su puntito y podría haber llegado a interesarme. Pero le sobra la mitad (o más) de azúcar y merengue.
Ümit Nar
Dec 10, 2015 Ümit Nar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bir yerde Vanessa'nın dediği:"Hayır, Aldo birisi gitti oraya. Çünkü başka bir yol yoktu. Çünkü zamanı gelmişti. Çünkü birinin oraya gitmesi gerekiyordu."

Herkesin istediği lâkin dile getiremediği o 'şey'in olması; bu boğuntunun, sıkıntının, eziyetin bitmesi için gereken Mesih'in, Aldo'nun romanı (mı?)..

Peşpeşe okuma yapmak isteyenlere önerim, 'Barbarları Beklerken' (Coetzee), 'Tatar Çölü' (Buzatti) ve belki 'Dava' (Kafka) olur.
I originally gave this award-winning book three stars, but downgraded it because its dubious message seemed to be that jingoism is the best (only?) antidote to internal decay. How ridiculous. Maybe I missed something.
Mar 02, 2009 El rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to El by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (207/1001)
This is one of those books you should just read.
Nov 11, 2012 Ester marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended by Nassim N Taleb.
Sep 16, 2012 Olivia marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
May 23, 2015 Robert rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It was an effort to finish this book. It's not very long, but it actually took me months to read it, because I hated it so much I could only handle it in small doses. Gracq has maybe the most pretentious prose style I've ever read. In fact, this book contains what just might be the worst sentence ever written (but don't ask me what it is, because I don't remember and can't seem to find it ... I just remember laughing when I read it). The book is less a story than a collection of strained similes ...more
David Ranney
Sep 23, 2014 David Ranney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top-100-fiction
"Look around you, now that you're going to be in the city a few days. Nothing's changed, and yet it's as if the lighting weren't the same . . . There's a new glow on certain peaks, the way there is on the tips of lightning rods when a storm is on its way: as if the whole earth were concentrating all its energy to release the lightning. Men and things are still the same, yet everything has changed. Look carefully."

A young nobleman struggles with the idleness of a cold war while stationed at a nav
Vanessa Massera
Dec 30, 2015 Vanessa Massera rated it it was amazing
La prose agile de ce roman et l'aspect rêveur du monde imaginé qui y est décrit me rappelle beaucoup le célèbre Voyage au bout de la nuit de Céline. D'une grande élégance.
I am finding the prose of this book very odd and difficult to sink into. I am torn between thinking that it is rich and strange like eating something thick and creamy, and thinking that it is rich and strange like trying to wade through something thick and creamy.

The book also reminds me of the Tartar Steppe, which I found similarly dreamy and hard to get into. I am beginning to dread that DFW IRS boredom book, as I am worried that stories about inertia and lack of direction are maybe not my th
Espen Helgesen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 19, 2014 Nick_popa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Requires a slow read, but the character as well as landscape descriptions are worthwhile. Une ecriture remarquable! The political topics set in an imaginary world represent salient issues for today's political scene.
Dec 13, 2015 Petr rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful book that should be more famous. Beautiful escapist prose, full of atmospheric descriptions where nothing much happens. A wonderfully slow and erotic description of a trip to an island. Reminiscent of Italo Calvino.
Ben Hedley
Dec 12, 2015 Ben Hedley rated it it was ok
I couldn't really say what really happened in this book. Plot and action are pushed to the side in favour of atmosphere and character. All in all I found it very dull and wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
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Julien Gracq (27 July 1910 – 22 December 2007), born Louis Poirier in St.-Florent-le-Vieil, in the French "département" of Maine-et-Loire, was a French writer. He wrote novels, critiques, a play, and poetry. His literary works were noted for their Surrealism.

Gracq first studied in Paris at the Lycée Henri IV, where he earned his baccalauréat. He then entered the École Normale Supérieure in 1930, l
More about Julien Gracq...

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“And what can still delight an inert stone except to become, once more, the bed of a raging torrent?” 3 likes
“[Original text in French] Giovanni n'avait pas menti. Sagra était une merveille baroque, une collision improbable et inquiétante de la nature et de l'art.

[My translation to English] Giovanni hadn't lied. Sagra was a Baroque wonder, an unlikely and disturbing collision between Nature and Arts.

[My translation to Spanish] Giovanni no había mentido. Sagra era una maravilla barroca, una colisión improbable e inquitante de la naturaleza con el arte.”
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