The Silent Crossing
Translated by Chris Turner
264 pages | 5 x 8 June 2013
ISBN : 9780857420770
Rs 450.00 (HB)
A prolific essayist, novelist, translator, philosopher, and a critic of rare elegance, Pascal Quignard returns anew to the major questions of existence in The Silent Crossing, a haunting homage to life and liberty, to society and solitude, and to the binding and unbinding that constitute the weft of our lives.
Drawing on materials from across many cultures, Quignard makes an effort to establish shared human values as the breeding ground for a modern Enlightenment. Considering atheism as a spiritual liberation, suicide as a free act, and the rejection of society as a free choice, the author explores philosophical themes that have run through human civilizations—most often as heresies—from our earliest days. In his search for freedom, Quignard questions the binding dependency of religion, querying how, in a world where all forms of society presuppose that someone (or some collective) is looking over our shoulders, we can be free. These reflections, he implies, are the essential spiritual exercise for our times.
Few voices in contemporary French literature are more distinct than that of Quignard. By reading this fragmentary, episodic assemblage of intimate experiences and borrowed tales, we open up a space of liberty, creating for the reader space for meditation and, perhaps, liberation.
“Pascal Quignard is undoubtedly the most iconoclastic of contemporary French authors.”—Catherine Argand, Lire
“Quignard has redefined historical fiction as both hoax and enigma.”—Burning Deck on Wooden Tablets: Apronenia Avitia
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.