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Fruits of the Earth
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1001 book reviews > Fruits of the Earth by André Gide

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Chinook | 282 comments I was not a fan. I’m geneal, I wasn’t all that interested in this philosophical m, religious way-to-live travelogue. The middle wasn’t terrible because something vaguely resembling a narrative finally showed up as he travelled in the desert, but most of it just seemed like repetitive babble to me.

I feel like as a teenager, the suggestion that one must leave their family and home behind to set out and experience all the world would have been one that resonated with me. I might have glossed over things like the suggestion that being rich is completely irrelevant to happiness or that it’s okay to love them and leave them because once a pleasure becomes fixed it’s not longer pleasure. At one point he gripes about the amusements of his contemporaries and it’s like he was the first hipster.

I’m torn between two and one stars.

Gail (gailifer) | 1540 comments I read Fruits of the Earth as part of the Random Reading Challenge and I read it after I read the parallel and more narratively constrained The Immoralist. I found the comparison to be very interesting as the first is a river of sensations crafted into words, while the Immoralist is a fictional account of man, who after an illness, elects to act on his desires outside the moral code he was brought up to adhere to. Although reviewers praise Immoralist's "realism", it is actually a depressing book about a character that loves no one but himself and his own needs. Fruits of the Earth is largely a diary or journal of thoughts, reflections and stated desires after the author's recovery from an illness. Although there are three characters, the mentor (past learnings), the disciple (new love) and the narrator, we don't hear from anyone but the narrator. The first part (which I believe is the only part that is on the 1001 list), is very full of flowery sentiments and the gush of love of life. Although this writing style is now very old fashioned, I nevertheless really appreciated how direct and fevered it was. He speaks of things he has seen and felt on his travels, sometimes simply giving the reader a glimpse of a garden oasis or some freshly collected milk, or "the sky entangled in the trees".
The second half is not nearly as good as it is the reflections of an older man on god, morals, pleasure and "self". "...the most precious part of ourselves is that which remains unformulated"

The reading of this short book was also made more difficult by my reading an english translation available on-line for free, which was great, but which used a very old fashioned font which I could not adjust.
I gave the first half - 3 stars. If the second half is also considered part of the 1001 books it would be less.

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