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The Lost Upland: Stories of Southwestern France

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  69 ratings  ·  11 reviews
In The Lost Upland W. S. Merwin vividly conveys his intimate knowledge of the people and the countryside in this ancient part of France (home of the Lascaux caves). In three narratives of small-town life, Merwin shows with matchless poetic and narrative power how the past is still palpably present.
On its original publication in 1992 Jane Kramer wrote, "These stories are a
Paperback, 320 pages
Published November 30th 2004 by Counterpoint (first published 1992)
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A knockout! It sings...
Jul 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Three terrific tales of life in rural southwest France. I read them during and just after a trip to the region and it helped immerse me even further in the culture.
The agriculture controversies in "The Shepherds" hit kinda close to home; it's nice to see that the US isn't the only place grappling with corporate vs. family farming.
Jul 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
The great poet's affectionate take on the culture and people of southwestern France. What characters! His portraits of the rustic French are nonpareil, as is his evocation of the landscape. This is a superb "travel" book and, of course, an elegy for a way of life too rapidly disappearing. A must-read for anyone visiting rural France. ...more
Cooper Renner
May 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
5 stars for "Blackbird's Summer", the third fiction here (which takes up half the book); 3 stars for the other two. First comment: it's a misappellation to call these fictions "stories". The first and shortest, "Foie Gras," is probably 25,000 words; the second, "Shepherds," must be around 45000 or so; and "Blackbird's Summer" is probably 70,000. The two shorter works are much harder to read, at least for me, because so much of their texts is taken up with detailed descriptions of places and thin ...more
Aug 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Janet Higbie
Recommended to Dunrie by: Franziska Raspa
Shelves: place, travel, fiction
I found the book completely absorbing. Vivid, lyrical, nostalgic, generous, and funny....

A lovely profile of people - aging, changing, judging their neighbors, making friends. And, a lovely profile of a beautiful and ancient region.

I had to go online to see some photos of the causse, there is a flickr group "The Grands Causses" that has many photos of the stone houses. Helped me "see" the place.

I want to go! But of course, the book was written about several years experience there, so that would
Oct 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-fave-bangers
Three long quiet stories about people living anachronistic lives in Les Causses: a sort of junk dealing eccentric, shepherds, and a wine merchant. The subjects are revealed to have deep knowledge of their surroundings. The pace is slow, and the attention is frequently on nature. The stories get better, with the last; the result is feeling like we've spent a good long vacation in a previously unknown place. This is a valuable thing, when most of us have put our travels on pause. ...more
I have picked up this book so much over the years, reading a little bit and then putting it down again. I really shouldn't give myself credit for reading it. I think I'm saving it for when I have more time. ...more
Jan 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
An interesting prose, nonfiction/almost memoir about a village in southwestern France.
Jean Grant
Jul 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: serious readers
This is beautifully written, but it's not a page turner for me. Too beautiful. Too challenging. I live the summers in the area he describes and he does a marvelous job of getting down the people. ...more
Dec 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
French people are so wacky!
Aug 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
Slooooow rambling reading, if well written. Great for a hot day when you don't want to move and have nothing to do ...more
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William Stanley Merwin was an American poet, credited with over fifty books of poetry, translation and prose.

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