By a Slow River by Philippe Claudel

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A bestseller in France and winner of the Prix Renaudot, By a Slow River is a mesmerizing and atmospheric tale of three mysterious deaths in an oddly isolated French village during World War I.The placid daily life of a small town near the front seems impervious to the nearby pounding of artillery fire and the parade of wounded strangers passing through its streets. But the illusion of calm is soon shattered by the deaths of three innocents–the charming new schoolmistress who captures every male heart only to kill herself; an angelic ten-year-old girl who is found strangled; and a local policeman’s cherished wife, who dies alone in labor while her husband is hunting the murderer. Twenty years later, the policeman still struggles to make sense of these tragedies, a struggle that both torments and sustains him. But excavating the town's secret history will bring neither peace to him nor justice to the wicked.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Philippe Claudel

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PHILIPPE CLAUDEL is the author of many novels, among them By a Slow River, which has been translated into thirty languages and was awarded the Prix Renaudot in 2003 and the Elle Readers' Literary prize in 2004. His novel La Petite Fille de Monsieur Linh was published in 2005, and Brodeck won the Prix Goncourt des Lycéens in 2007. Claudel also wrote and directed the film I've Loved You So Long starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Elsa Zylberstein, which opened in movie theaters in the United States in the fall of 2008 and in thirty other countries around the world.
Published December 18, 2007 by Anchor. 210 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for By a Slow River

Kirkus Reviews

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Set during the Great War, the story highlights the absurdity of prosecuting a single murder when whole battalions of boys are killing each other just a few miles away.

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The New York Times

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PHILIPPE CLAUDEL'S novel is a detective story of a sort — specifically, the sort in which an investigator revisits an old crime, musing and worrying and doubting himself every step of the way.

Jul 02 2006 | Read Full Review of By a Slow River

Publishers Weekly

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Nimbly translated, French former screenwriter Claudel's little gem of a debut novel is, in essence, a whodunit.

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Entertainment Weekly

More Camus than Simenon, Philippe Claudel's wrenching French mystery, By a Slow River, unfolds during and immediately after World War I, when a young girl is strangled and dumped in a rural canal.

Jun 09 2006 | Read Full Review of By a Slow River

Historical Novel Society

Rather, the story he tells is of the very human souls of the village, “les âmes grises” – gray souls, doing the best they can in the face of inconsolable loss.

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Deseret News

As with all books that undergo translation, the question must be asked, "How much of the credit goes to the novelist and how much to the translator?"

Jul 02 2006 | Read Full Review of By a Slow River

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