In 2001 Richard Jack was a thirty-something history teacher, divorced and suffering from a minor drink problem. For reasons that are not entirely clear but have something to do with the death (possibly the suicide) of a young friend, he set out on a walking holiday in France in the summer of that year. The account he writes of his experiences has its boots partly on the ground, but it is primarily a story of coincidences, deaths and apparitions, of ridiculous and beautiful people, of meandering desire and identity-loss, inset with not quite nonsensical songs and loopy tales and memoirs that reach out well beyond France and Europe.
French Promenade will particularly suit readers who have had enough of everyday realism of any kind, and also don’t like being told what to think. But there’s plenty of intellectual and imaginative stimulation to be had. Some readers will think of Louis Carroll, Samuel Beckett and Franz Kafka, maybe even of medieval or Renaissance storytelling. Others will just think they’re visiting a very unusual part of France and enjoy the experience. At a certain point in his journey Richard feels that his attitude to life has changed. Many readers will feel the same. At least for a few days, or minutes.
Length: 436 pages
Size: 8.5" x 5.5"
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