radio-4, fradio, published-2011, summer-2012, plague-disease, historical-fiction, france, booker-longlist, conflagration
Recommended for: Laura, Carey and all Radio listeners
Read from August 25 to September 01, 2012
BOOK AT BEDTIME - Abridged by Jeremy Osborne Read by John Sessions.
blurb - It's Paris in 1785. The cemetery of Les Innocents is the oldest in the city, but it is overflowing and can no longer hold on to its dead. Newcomers to the quarter are overpowered by the smell. It taints the breath and food of the locals. And some believe it can even taint the mind.
By order of the King, the church and cemetery are to be destroyed and every last bone rehoused. The place is to be made sweet again. It shall be made pure.
Charged with the task, Jean-Baptiste Baratte - a young engineer from Normandy - arrives in Paris. And thus begins "A year of bones, of grave-dirt, relentless work. Of ... chanting priests. A year of rape, suicide, sudden death. Of friendship too. Of desire. Of love...A year unlike any other he has lived."
Andrew Miller was born in Bristol. He studied Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia in 1991 and finished a PhD in Critical and Creative Writing at Lancaster University in 1995. He lives in Somerset.
His first novel, Ingenious Pain, was published in 1997 and won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for fiction). His third, Oxygen (2001), was shortlisted for both the Booker Prize and the Whitbread Novel Award. One Morning Like A Bird (2008) was also produced by Sweet Talk for Book At Bedtime on BBC Radio 4.
Pure is Andrew Miller's sixth novel and won the Costa Book Of The Year award in 2011.
Produced by Rosalynd Ward A Sweet Talk production for BBC Radio 4.
After the Cemetery of the Innocents (close to Saint-Eustace, in the district of the “Halles”) had been in use for several centuries, more and more complaints were made, because it was the cause of infections the inhabitants of the surrounding area suffered from. http://www.travelling-experiences.com...
not particularly compelling, but i like the background of the story: 1785 Paris, how romantic
This is an intriguing tale of a civil engineer working in 18thC Paris, tasked to remove - in its entirety - a decrepit, overflowing and collapsing cemetery.
Great fun, and with enough wine, love and verisimilitude to keep everyone happy.
The ending is VERY strange though - the final pages were (for me) a Great Mystery. Read it and see what YOU think is going on.
From the blurb it had great potential, the press gave it rave reviews, it won the Costa Book Award - but unfortunately it just wasn't my cup of tea.
I enjoyed the opening, the language certainly evoked the smells, sights, atmosphere of 18th-Century France, its a shame the plot didn't match up.
If you want some atmospheric, plot and character driven historical fiction, Michel Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White is 100x better than this....Continua