A haunting work, reminiscent of Albert Camus, that portrays with exquisite psychological detail the emotional crisis in the life of Jean Calmet, a young Swiss schoolteacher. As we watch the father's cremation in the opening chapter, we sense that, even though his father's body has been reduced to ashes, his spirit survives to haunt Jean. His father's prodigious vitality and virility had crushed his family and ruined his son's childhood. Even after his father's death, Jean cannot be free. The parental ogre's actions continue to suck Jean into a vortex of despair.
Jacques Chessex, a giant of Swiss literature, won the Grand Prix de la langue française and was awarded the Grand Prix Jean Giono for his entire work. Bitter Lemon Press published his novels The Vampire of Ropraz and A Jew Must Die to high acclaim. He died in 2009 at age seventy-five.
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Chessex was a poet, and this comes to the fore in wonderful descriptive passages calling up daily routines, the vineyards, rolling hills, wildlife and the azure skies above the lake and mountains.Read Full Review of The Tyrant | See more reviews from Guardian