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Translated by Alison Anderson
During the longest war humankind has endured, two young Spanish officers abandon their post to follow the charismatic Petrus across a bridge only he can see.
In a place of lingering mists, poetry, music and natural wonders, the fate of our world and its living creatures will be decided. Yet this world too is under threat. Will harmony and beauty prevail over darkness and death? An ode to the power of the imagination, the sequel to The Life of Elves echoes our own global border disputes and climate disaster. A Strange Country, by the author of The Elegance of the Hedgehog, is a literary fantasy for fans of Kazuo Ishiguro, Margaret Atwood and David Mitchell.
‘A homage to the power of story…A tour de force with many inspired and delightful touches…Irresistible.’
‘Barbery revels in the lavishing of detail…in its many moments of weird lucidity it also beguiles. It’s then that Barbery explores the mystical connections between nature, art and the human heart with vividness and clarity.’
‘A marvellous mixture of fairy tale, poetry, fable and adventure. Muriel Barbery’s characters are beautifully rendered.’
‘A Strange Country is both a remarkable adventure story and a philosophical tale, a homage to the imagination and to creativity. It is Tolkien in the land of Jean Giono.’
‘In in this cosmic tale, which takes its inspiration from the author’s Asian experience, her contemplation of Japanese gardens and her fascination with Zen Buddhism, Barbery once again celebrates the infinite powers of literature, unveiling the layers of a peaceful but threatened paradise. By taking us into this unusual world, her novel encourages us to revisit our disillusioned lives.’
‘Muriel Barbery allows us to reconnect with our dreams and imagination. Entering into her world is a sheer delight.’
‘Muriel Barbery is the most successful traveller to ”strange countries” that we have in our times.’
‘Both an adventure story and an act of contemplation. A love song to Asian art, Barbery’s novel is inspired by her passion for Japan, where she has lived, and by her long-held desire to write about the gardens in Kyoto…At the end of this beautiful novel that is both amusing and serious, readers will emerge moved and delighted—by allowing their spirits to inhabit that of an enchanted child.’
‘Through the eyes of strangers, the reader learns about the customs of another world. As well as touches of Voltaire’s Candide, we encounter a good deal of humour. And the ultimate question: “Will poetry and beauty be enough to unite and save the world?”…This captivating, enchanting novel whispers to us the secrets of a lost world in which we can lose ourselves, and dream.’