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Beauty on Earth Paperback – July 1, 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Onesuch Pty Ltd (July 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0987276077
  • ISBN-13: 978-0987276070
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #962,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Patti M. Marxsen on December 15, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
C. F. Ramuz (1878-1947) is one of French-speaking Switzerland's best-known writers. The territory of his 22 novels can usually be located in a mountainous village, somewhere between Heaven and Earth. This mythical novel, originally published in 1927, inhabits both realms as its troubling tale unfolds. The village cannot remain the same after the unexpected appearance of destabilizing beauty in the form of a niece whose father has died in Cuba. Emotions rise to the surface. Innocence becomes comical. Desire turns to cynicism. Mediocrity prevails. However natural or simple things may appear on the surface, a gnawing complexity hovers like a cloud. In the end, otherness cannot be integrated into this small world. Indeed, the known world becomes a kind of "elsewhere."

It is no accident that Beauty on Earth is only the second Ramuz novel to appear in English in the past 50 years. (Blake Robinson's translation of The Young Man from Savoy appeared in 2008.) Not only do Ramuz's stories seem to be less relevant than they are, the "action" is a slow crescendo and the language, too, is deceptively simple. Perhaps because of the rare opportunity this publication represents, Michelle Bailat-Jones clearly decided to stay as close to the original as possible, sometimes sacrificing the logical flow of "correct" English in order to convey Ramuz's incantatory voice. She follows his shifts in verb tense, captures repetitious echoes, and finds countless solutions for vivid imagery. When English is simply inadequate, she allows the French to stand, as when she uses "vaudaire" for the strong wind known in the Swiss canton of the Vaud. Every word counts here, just as every word counted in the original writing of this tale. "The ‘pianissimos’ take all of your strength," Ramuz said. In this virtuoso performance, Bailat-Jones has earned her own applause. In honoring the "master" of mythical realism, his music becomes hers.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mitchell Jones on August 27, 2013
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This is a book in the genre of Fitzgerald, Hemingway (of the 1920's) Lawrence. Set in Switzerland the books is sublime and nuanced in the original French and this translation with beauty and craft bring all of that to the English reader. This is a gem from the post WW I world that can speak to us today.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By westreader on August 27, 2013
Format: Paperback
This is a calm and exact translation of one of Ramuz's unusual speculative novels. In their time they were welcomed as brief works on a grand philosophical scale. Now they have new relevance: they show us ourselves as part of nature, as possible losers. Their beauty is the only reassurance they offer.
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More About the Author

Michelle Bailat-Jones is a writer and translator.

Her fiction, poetry, translations, and criticism have appeared in a number of journals, including The Kenyon Review, The Rumpus, The View from Here, Hayden's Ferry Review, the Quarterly Conversation, PANK, Spolia Mag, Two Serious Ladies, Cerise Press and The Atticus Review.

In 2013, her translation of Charles Ferdinand Ramuz's 1927 Swiss classic Beauty on Earth was published by Onesuch Press. Other translations include work from Julia Allard Daudet, Laure Mi-Hyun Croset, Claude Cahun and Céline Cerny.

She was born in Japan, grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and now lives in Switzerland.