My Photo

Bookish Places


Blog powered by Typepad

« A Dozen Books to Buy or Borrow | Main | Short Story Sunday: The Empty House »



I know it sounds strange but I loved this book. It was so bleak but so well done. It captures WWI, the mood of that horrible war. France was destroyed by it, not only the people, the landscape was altered forever. He doesn't say it but you feel it. It's highly symbolical too.

I was wondering why all these women died and all the men were killers. Is that a symbol of France - her soil - during the war and what was done to it?
The French book has no real blurb. They don't do that on French books, they hardly give away anything, often they even only just add a small quote to give you the flavour. I find the English blurb gives away too much. Since I read it in French I was in the dark for a very long time, had no clue who the narrator war.

Debbie Rodgers @Exurbanis

I so wanted to read this one for the War & Literature read-along. Alas - I am 10 weeks into a self-imposed year long book buying ban, and Grey Souls is not to be found in the entire provincial library system!

Wonderful review!

Jenny @ Reading the End (formerly Jenny's Books)

The excerpts you've quoted are so gorgeous. I'm on a bit of a break from stories about murdered children, but when I come back from it this'll be top of my list!


I agree with the comment above. This is a really good review of a really good book.
Did you know Claudel - apart from being a professor in literature - also directs films? I've seen two and they are both worth looking out for as well.

Belle Read

Great review. I would love to read this one. I do so love a book that can hit an emotional chord.
-Dilettantish Reader


I have read this one and I loved it. I'm glad you liked it too!


I really liked this one, too. I think it is one of my favorites and maybe my fave so far this year. I like how it is done so subtly--he sort of moves around in the story building it all up without ever blatantly giving details all away. It was an interesting perspective, too, of the war told from the point of view of one who didn't fight in it, but it doesn't matter as everyone is affected by it. I hadn't thought of the parallel between women being the victims and men being the killers. It shows the senselessness of it all. Now I've already forgotten the details--was Belle raped, too--in its way the country was raped, so I can see how there might be symbolism there. There is quite a lot to think about--and I am sorry I'm so behind--I've not had a chance to properly read your post and the comments, but I hope to do so later today finally! I try not to read about books before I pick them up, but it is annoying when the description on the cover gives away so much--I prefer to know very little of the story. I don't think that the narrator was ever formally named was he? Just the nickname by his schoolboy friend. It took me a while, too, to figure out that he was an investigator working on the crime--I assumed as much but Claudel didn't come out right away and say so.


Good for you for sticking to your ban. I keep telling myself I will do the same and then break down right away and give in and buy something I think I really must have now! This is a good one, and later if you come across it when you are buying books I recommend it. Thanks for the kind words!


Stories like this one are indeed very heavy. I want to read more of his work but I will wait a little while before doing so. This is the second book now in a short span of time that has had a child victim in it--even if the crimes are not described in detail--you still know it has happened, which is a very unpleasant thought.


Thanks Cath! It is a very well done book and I can see why he has won awards. I will be reading more of his work--and I think you mentioned one which I will go back and make sure I jotted down the title of. I didn't know anything about Claudel--just thought he was a writer. There is something to directing films--and maybe it is that talent that comes through in this book--the way he tells his story and builds it all up. I will see if I can get any of his movies here--thanks for the heads up.


I think, then, you would like this one very much. It is beautifully written and fairly short, too, but with so much to it. Thanks for the kind words.


He is one of those authors now that I can see I should have picked up sooner! I am looking forward to reading more of his books now!


She wasn't raped but I still think that women stand for the country France. Not sure. I'd like to read more of him. I have at least two or three other novels by him.


Sounds interesting and well done and right up your alley!


Definitely one of my favorites from the Lit and War choices this year. I need to pull out my copy of the next book and start reading since I am so slow!

The comments to this entry are closed.

Books Read in 2020

Books Read in 2019

Books Read in 2018

Books Read in 2017

Books Read in 2016

Books Read in 2015