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Le rivage des Syrtes
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Le rivage des Syrtes

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  295 ratings  ·  20 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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** 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
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
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
Nov 28, 2007 Félix rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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
Mar 02, 2009 El rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
David Ranney
"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
Espen Helgesen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
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.
simply put : a masterpiece. It has a very rich and intricate way of using the French language. My favorite book of all times. It was translated as "The Opposing Shore" in English.
Vita Flumen
Une prose impeccable et profonde. Des descriptions étonnantes qui nous font sentir l’attente et l’abandon imprégnés dans les murs d’Orsenna.
This book was highly enjoyable to re-read. The language is thick and beautiful. Probably among my favorites.
Too pedantic for me.

Which is saying something.
Un style assez unique et particulier.
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Nov 23, 2014
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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...
Château d'Argol A Balcony in the Forest A Dark Stranger La presqu'île The Narrow Waters

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“And what can still delight an inert stone except to become, once more, the bed of a raging torrent?” 1 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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