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.’ —Lire
‘Quignard has redefined historical fiction as both hoax and enigma.’ —Burning Deck (on On Wooden Tablets)