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The Lost Estate by Alain-Fournier
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's review
Mar 19, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction-mainstream
Read in March, 2012

THE LOST ESTATE (Le Grand Meaulnes). (1912). Alain-Fournier. ****.
It turned out that this was my second reading of this novel. Over forty years ago, I read a book titled, “The Wanderer” by this author. When I found this copy I thought it was another book by him that I would likely enjoy. Come to find out, this book had several different titles ascribed to it depending on the whim of the translator – excused by his need to capture the essence of the book in the title. Here’s an example of where it pays to learn as much about an author as possible when reading his or her books. That way you would have surely learned that he only wrote the one book. Alain-Fournier, christened Henri Alban, was born in 1886, and was killed in action on the Meuse in 1914. The novel has been variously titled, “The Wanderer,” “The Lost Domain,” and “Big Meaulnes,” plus, of course, the current title. It was extremely popular in France when it was published, and was as iconic in its effects on French youth as, say, “Catcher in the Rye” was on American youths. It is much like a fusion of “Peter Pan,” with “The Secret Garden.” “...Meaulnes first arrives at the local school in Sologne...Everyone is captivated by his good looks, daring and charisma. But when he disappears for several days, and returns with tales of a strange party at a mysterious house and a beautiful girl hidden within it, Meaulnes has been changed for ever. In his restless search for his Lost Estate and the happiness he found there, Meaulnes, observed by his loyal friend Francois, may risk losing everything he eveer had.” The story is narrated by Francois, who joins up with Meaulnes to find this hidden source of happiness and is also transformed when they find it. I hate to say it, but the novel does not read as well the first time. This might very well be that I am forty years older than when I read it the first time. If you are a first-time reader, I recommend you try it.
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04/16/2016 marked as: read

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