Friday 3 July 2020

Jean Giono's Legacy, by Carol Drinkwater

                               Jean Giono born in Manosque in 1895 and died in the same village in 1970.

I am frequently asked who my favourite writers are; authors I return to time and time again. One of the first who springs to mind is Jean Giono. Son of a cobbler and a laundress, he is a Provençal writer through and through. Henry Miller, the great American writer, described Giono as one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. Yet he is little know outside his native France, although many of his books have been translated in to English.

In 1953 he published perhaps his most famous book, THE MAN WHO PLANTED TREES. If you haven't read it I certainly urge you to. You won't be disappointed. The tale narrates the story of a berger, a shepherd, who spends thirty years reforesting a region in the Haute Provence. The book was made into a film produced in Canada. Here is the link to the very beautiful  animation film:

Or in English:

In these hard days full of sickness and bad news, I heartily recommend this beautiful little film and, of course, the novel, which in my opinion is a small masterpiece.

By serendipity, I recently discovered the group, Friends of Jean Giono/ Les Amis de Jean Giono. They meet every year in early August in Manosque, watch films of his work, read from his books and take walking tours to parts of the Provençal countryside Giono wrote about. I am hoping that I will be able to attend this year.

Coincidentally, Michel and I are attempting to plant up a forest of oak trees grown from acorns fallen on our land at the Olive Farm ... a small gesture for the future.

Enjoy your summer reading and I hope you find inspiration from Giono and this marvellous little film.

1 comment:

Caroline K. Mackenzie said...

What a wonderful recommendation - thank you, Carol!

I have just ordered the book which sounds like perfect reading during these difficult times. 'The Man Who Planted Trees' suggests both a reassuring and inspirational story. The animation film looks lovely, too.

Your forest of oak trees is a fabulous idea - enjoy watching them grow! What a valuable legacy.