Saturday, 26 November 2011

The Man who Planted Trees

The Man Who Planted Trees is a thoroughly enchanting book by Jean Giono. The book is charmingly illustrated by Vanessa Capela.

Who was Jean Giono? He was born in 1895 to an ordinary family of somewhat modest means in Manosque, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence in France.

He started working in a bank when he became 16, but he continued with his deep and abiding passion for reading the great classical works of literature.

At the outbreak of the Great War he left the bank as he was called up for military duty.

The dreadful suffering he witnessed during his time during that terrible war turned him into a life-long pacifist.

A year after the end of the war, 1919, he returned to his duties at the bank. Within a year he had married a childhood sweetheart and together they had two children.

Success as a novelist came to him when, in 1929, he published his first novel, Colline. A year later he left the bank, this time for good, concentrating on writing full-time.

He went on to write 30 novels, numerous stories and essays.

The book for which he is probably best known for outside his native France is this book, The Man Who Planted Trees.

It's a charming, optimistic and hopeful story which relates how a man brings  a deserted valley back to life by simply planting trees in it.

It reflects the lifelong love that he had of the natural world and his concerns pre-date the fashionable green movement by many decades.

This book is a masterpiece of storytelling. It is another book I shall recommend as a Christmas present.

You simply must read this book. As for me? I think I shall plant a tree, or three... In fact, if your buy this book, a tree has already been planted for you.

It is published by Far Away books www.farfarawaybooks.com

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