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Joy of Man's Desiring: A Novel

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  305 ratings  ·  37 reviews
"Peasant civilization possesses as a gift human qualities which philosophical civilizations spend centuries first defining, then desiring, and finally losing." —Jean Giono
A true forebear of magical realism, French author Jean Giono created men and women rooted in the folklore of provincial France. In this beautiful new edition of the original Que Ma Joie Demeure—literally,
Paperback, 472 pages
Published March 16th 2010 by Counterpoint (first published 1935)
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Average rating 4.21  · 
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Apr 17, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france, fiction, flora, dnf, magic
After reading:
I do not like Joy of Man's Desiring. I have decided to not finish it. Just as The Man Who Planted Trees has a central theme focused upon nature, this does too, but it is just too imaginary for my tastes. Animals speak with people and such. The dialogs are perfunctory. You can tell it is the same author, but is too fantastical for my tastes.

Don't pick up this book first. Start with The Horseman on the Roof and then Blue Boy or The Man Who Planted Trees. Jean Giono is a good writer,
Victor Morosoff
May 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Superbe. Giono réalise, dans ce livre, l'éloge poignant de l'espoir et de la joie. À l'aide d'un pouvoir lyrique extraordinaire, il met en scène une histoire entourée de magie et d'une poèsie éternelle. Je garderai, à coup sûr, le souvenir des descriptions de la nature et notamment celles du ciel; un ciel comme moi, je pense, je n'en ai jamais vu de plus beau et expressif. Ça m'a fait rêver. Et ça habitera mon esprit pour longtemps. 4,5/5

« C'est difficile, dit-il, de jouer avec les étoiles.
- Non
Sep 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it! A friend gave it to me in 1978 because a character in one of my short stories reminded her of a character in the book. It's lyrical, beautiful, mystical and gives a contemporary perspective on what we lose when we let big business take over our farms.
Jul 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: romantic nature lovers
very rich. full of images of nature's sensuality. just beautiful!
Niklas Spitz
May 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Beautiful, hauntingly evocative prose, elemental rural landscapes, rich in poetic thought. Compelling and accomplished - the song of the earth comes lyrically through this writer.
Tamra Karl
Feb 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Giono is like the French version of Thomas Hardy in his scenic descriptions. Only someone who has spent a lifetime in nature for entire days and weeks on end will have the insights shared in this book and only a poet could bring them to life like Giono. I felt simultaneously a memory for having experienced the native intimacy he describes and a longing to immerse myself in the wild enough to have those experiences only imagined.
Edwin Ransom
May 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
the best book ever.
Oct 23, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This reissue of this 1935 French novel has Mother Nature and the human condition as its main characters. The characters are there to be acted upon by nature and to find the core of what humans need and want in the process. I can’t say I loved it, but it had a point of view which certainly makes you think.

Oct 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Giono's most beautiful prose. I know it is a translation, but if it is, it is perfect! I often read it over again, picking up passages that reflect Nature so well. The feeling of being a part of the vast universe while standing in a field at night under the stars...
Chris Sherman
Dec 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is bizarre (duh, its postmodern) but there was some truth to it and I loved how distinctly French it is and the characters in it are. Its interesting too how early it was written, for lots of thematic elements are things contemporary writers are just now teasing out and sorting through.
Sep 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book a second time! I was not disappointed! Very beautiful language and interesting ideas! Be happy!
Dec 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just re-read this. One of my favorite all time books.
christopher leibow
From the man who wrote, " The Man Who Planted Trees, Amazing, sublime.
May 21, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Une lecture laborieuse et éprouvante mais un certain nombre de belles pages et de récompenses à la clé dans ce roman dont la petite musique est celle d'un Beckett émigré en terre de Provence.
Apr 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A pastoral poem of a novel. And one of the most beautiful books i have ever read.
Jul 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was perhaps one of the strangest texts I've ever encountered, but it is breathtaking. Not for the skeptic or over-analytical reader.
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alors que j'étais perdue dans la routine parisienne, Que ma joie demeure m'est tombé dans les mains comme Bobi au milieu de la Jourdane. Un bref sursis dans ce quotidien maussade, pour ouvrir les yeux sur un monde oublié.

Il m'a fallu du temps pour terminer ce roman dont l'intrigue n'est que peu perceptible. L'intérêt n'était pas là. J'y vois davantage la peinture - non pas d'une société - mais des hommes d'une manière générale, et de leur rapport à la vie. Cette façon qu'ils ont de l'oublier au
Sep 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What was it about this book? What is it about Jean Giono? As I read this book, many years ago now, I was truly beguiled, bewitched by the beauty of the prose, and the remarkable whole-ness of his vision of life.

I must confess that I had a lot of trouble reading this book, easy as it was, just because of the intense beauty of the vision and the prose. That made me wonder if there was an issue with the writing, or if, as Hamlet tells us, the fault is in our stars.

It is hard, possibly almost inde
Giulio Siciliano
Quand j'ai terminé « Le chant du monde », la beauté de la prose de Giono m'avait complètement subjugué, son éloge continuel de la nature m'avait séduit. J'ai donc abordé « Que ma joie demeure » avec le même esprit sans m'attendre une seule minute à y trouver un roman philosophique. Profondément émouvant par les symboles qui y sont évoqués, on peut néanmoins refermer ce roman subitement après un chapitre parce qu'on sent soudain qu'il faut résoudre une veille question restée sans réponse. Il faut ...more
Sep 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sur un plateau provençal, quelques familles vivant de la terre souffrent sans s'en apercevoir de leur isolement et du manque d'harmonie avec l'univers qui les entoure. L'arrivée d'un homme énigmatique va peut-être bouleverser leurs habitudes et leur façon de penser ? Comme le titre le suggère, l'auteur, au travers de ce roman, parle de la joie, du genre de quête qui pourrait y conduire ou encore de la possibilité d'en trouver une durable. En parallèle, il est question (déjà il y a plus de 50 ans ...more
Nick Doty
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got quite caught up in the way of living, the simple appreciation of nature and survival over traditional maximization of profits and separate lives. The story's dark and surreal end was a surprise and one I still don't fully understand. Perhaps it's something like an ambiguous utopia.

One thing to note, even in this ideal world: the women have very specific and limited roles. They aren't boring characters at all, they are diverse and meaningful. But it did feel like all too familiar sexism in
Aug 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My neighbor loaned me this book. I had a like, bothered relationship with it. I kept reminding myself that it was originally a French book so some things are lost in translation. The story behind the random writings about deer and nature pulled me in. How it ended continued the confusion, yet I still wanted to read it.
Probablement pas la meilleure porte d'entrée dans l'oeuvre de Giono... Hormis quelques belles envolées sur la nature et le pastoralisme, les dialogues sont illisibles, les personnages caricaturaux, les réflexions pseudo-philosophiques sur "les femmes" sont franchement lourdes, bref, pas mécontente de l'avoir enfin fini!
Geoff Balme
Mar 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended by Henry Miller in his Books In My Life - Giono also wrote a famous story about a lone shepherd who reforested miles of European hills with oaks that became a famous animation shown to millions of french and quebequois kids.
This story is a curious one of rural people visited by an unusual stranger and mainly filled with a kind of tapestry of feeling and tastes. I deplore the unnecessary violence at the end, but it is otherwise a beautiful and almost experimental novel.
Jan 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vitality is contagious and ubiquitous. If you show that you are present in the world, synonymous with the wind, stars, and plateaux, when you are gone, you are never really gone. You are still everywhere. So that when I link myself to the flocks of geese above, something quite common, and then I die, you see me in the sky all the time and I have never left.
Feb 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: exquisite, classics
Aceasta este una dintre cartile descoperite in biblioteca bunicii, o editie din anii '40 pe care a trebuti sa o citesc cu deosebita grija pentru a nu o deteriora. Este una dintre cartile care mi-a placut cel mai mult. Dincolo de imputarile aduse autorului pentru exagerarea legaturii dintre om si natura, apreciez puterea evocarilor si imagistica. Acuratetea cu care sunt descrise trairile personajelor si fantasticul amestecat in dulcele mediu rural, revelatiile mistico-supranaturale sunt ceva ce n ...more
Apr 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book so so long ago. Should get back to it, and re-read. I remember being completely enveloped in the world created here; very rural, very small community, very human yet magical at the same time. I remember loving it madly! but now remember very few details, just a sense of the sublime.
Apr 11, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
All you need to know about my opinion of this book is that I would read Twilight twenty times before reading this again. Horribly written, pretentious, and boring. It tries to be a novel of ideas, but only succeeds at being dull with the occasional scene of bestiality.
Nov 24, 2010 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Perfect book to be reading as the year sinks into its darkest time.
Aug 14, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fr, french, drama
L'œuvre de Giono qui démontre le plus son hymne à la nature et la vie. Quoique la fin des personnages principaux soient traumatisantes.
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Jean Giono, the only son of a cobbler and a laundress, was one of France’s greatest writers. His prodigious literary output included stories, essays, poetry, plays, film scripts, translations and over thirty novels, many of which have been translated into English.

Giono was a pacifist, and was twice imprisoned in France at the outset and conclusion of World War II.

He remained tied to Provence and

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