Translated by Chris Turner
5 x 8 inches, 256pp. May 2015
ISBN : 9780857422446
Rs 595.00 (HB)
Prolific essayist, translator, and critic Pascal Quignard has described his Last Kingdom series as something unique. It consists, he says, “neither of philosophical argumentation, nor short learned essays, nor novelistic narration,” but comes, rather, from a phase of his work in which the very concept of genre has been allowed to fall away, leaving an entirely modern, secular, and abnormal vision of the world.
In Abysses, the newest addition to the series, Quignard brings us yet more of his troubling, questing characters—souls who are fascinated by what preceded and conceived them. He writes with a rich mix of anecdote and reflection, aphorism and quotation, offering enigmatic glimpses of the present, and confident, pointed borrowings from the past. But when he raids the murkier corners of the human record, he does so not as a historian but as an antiquarian. Quignard is most interested in pursuit of those stories that repeat and echo across the seasons in their timelessness.
Praise for Quignard
“Quignard is undoubtedly the most iconoclastic of contemporary French authors.”—Catherine Argand, Lire
Pascal Quignard (b. 1948) studied philosophy at the University of Nanterre between 1966 and 1968, the crucible of the Paris ‘events’ of May 1968. Two novels—Le Salon du Wurtemberg (1986) and Les Escaliers de Chambord (1989)—published by Gallimard (for whom he worked in various capacities until 1994) brought him to the attention of a wide audience. In 1991, he published Tous les Matins du Monde (All the World’s Mornings), which was filmed by Alain Corneau with Jean-Pierre Marielle and Gérard Depardieu in leading roles. This work reflected Quignard’s intense musical activity, which included the presidency of the Versailles International Festival of Baroque Opera and Theatre. In 2002, Quignard won France’s most prestigious literary prize, the Prix Goncourt, with the first volume of his Dernier Royaume (Last Kingdom) series, Les ombres errantes—a controversial choice, as it was the first work of non-fiction to win the prize. Quignard has more than 60 other titles to his name and is widely regarded as one of the foremost literary French writers today.
Chris Turner is a writer and translator who lives in Birmingham, England.