By a Slow River: A Novel and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $15.00
  • Save: $2.05 (14%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 5 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
By a Slow River: A Novel has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: This item has been gently used.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

By a Slow River: A Novel Paperback – June 12, 2007


See all 6 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$12.95
$1.00 $0.01

Dietland by Sarai Walker
Dietland by Sarai Walker
A bold, original, and funny debut novel that takes on the beauty industry, gender inequality, and our weight loss obsession—from the inside out, and with fists flying. Learn more | See similar books
$12.95 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 5 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

By a Slow River: A Novel + Brodeck
Price for both: $28.28

Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Nimbly translated, French former screenwriter Claudel's little gem of a debut novel is, in essence, a whodunit. On a frigid morning in December 1917, the body of a 10-year-old girl is discovered, strangled, on the banks of the "slow" river that slices through a small, unnamed French village. The townsfolk are stunned by the murder, though they're curiously oblivious to the seemingly endless slaughter taking place on the nearby Western front. Told by Dadais, a former policeman with a sharp memory and (it gradually becomes apparent) a shadowy history of his own, the story is a re-creation of his dogged pursuit of the killer. Was it the town's haughty prosecutor, Pierre-Ange Destinat? Was it the Breton deserter who confesses under duress? Could it possibly have been Dadais himself? The answer, like everything else in the story, is far from tidy—aside from its construction, that is. Psychologically complex, elegantly written and tightly plotted, this is far from your average policier. (June 15)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* That good historical fiction needs storytelling fine-tuning as well as a solid foundation in historical fact is a rule advanced by this overwhelmingly compelling novel originally published in France, where it is set during World War I. As that seemingly unwinnable conflict rages only a few miles away from one particular small town ("while we led our narrow little lives in warmth and peace," says the narrator), disaster of a more individual nature strikes at the town's peace of mind: three nearly simultaneous deaths--the murder of a child, the suicide of the lovely young schoolteacher, and the death in childbirth of the wife of the narrator, who is a local policeman. In retrospect, the policeman pieces together, as if striving to complete a picture puzzle, the details of the murder, which then place the other deaths within an understood context. Ostensibly a murder mystery, this novel soars above such a restrictive definition. It is an impeccable visit to times past: small-town European life before World War I shook the world modern and, in the process, shook it loose. As riveting as the story line is, the setting, ambience, and lovely language ("Not a house, really, just a few planks blackened by the rain, held together thanks to some daily miracle") partner to flavor this novel with punch and spice. Brad Hooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor (June 12, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400078016
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400078011
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,455,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jane, reading groupie on June 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I was especially fascinated by Claudel's handling of the theme of murder during a time of war (WWI): on a gut level it's a perfectly crafted who-dunnit, with an amazing twist. The policeman who narrates the story thinks he's a pretty sharp judge of human nature, but he learns a thing or two not just about his neighbors but ultimately about himself, as he tries to solve the murder of little girl while the sons of the nation are being slaughtered at the front near his town. Ultimately he finds you can't completely uncover anyone's nature, not even your own. This is such an interesting book and such a beatifully told story--like discovering a classic--I want all my friends to read it so we can discuss. You'll be thinking about these characters long after you put the book down. Held me from start to finish. Bravo!
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Dr Beverly R Vincent VINE VOICE on July 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the most beautifully written novels I've read in a long time. I can only imagine what it must have been like in its original French. At the same time, it is an existential story of cold, lost men, the grey souls alluded to in the book's original title.

The stark juxtaposition of life-as-usual in a small town and the bombs of a world war bursting only a few kilometers away defines the novel. Its non-chronological construction gives readers snapshots in time and then backs up to show the confluence of events that conspired to create the gritty reality contained in those images.

Profoundly touching, and full of observations that make me as a reader nod in agreement.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By S. Robison on April 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
I had the pleasure of reading the original version of this work. Judging from past comments, the English version does it justice. I would have to remark that the beauty of the book, however, is in the prose, not in the story. Sure, the story is worthwhile, there are twists, and you will stay guessing till the end at what happens, yet the philosophical concept is what makes this book. I give this book 4 stars on content, but I have to say I am completely disappointed that the title of the book was changed from "Les Ames Grises" (The Grey Souls) to "By A Slow River." Essentially, the book is summarized in a statement from the secondary character Josephine to the narrator: "'The drunkards, the saints, I've never seen them. Nothing is either all black, nor all white, it is the Grey that wins. Men and their souls, it is the same....you are a grey soul, happily grey as us all." This philsophical premise is pounded into the reader throughout the course of the book; it is upon this that ALL things are based, thus the preference for title.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on June 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Former Police officer Dadais reflects back two decades to December 1917, the French villagers are shocked when the strangled corpse of ten years old girl Belle "Morning Glory" Bourrache is found by the banks BY A SLOW RIVER that slices through a small, unnamed French village. The townsfolk find the crime hideous as the murder of a child could only have been done by an animal. On the other hand he wonders how everyone including him takes for granted that the nearby battles against Germans will leave both sides filled with uncountable numbers of dead.

Dadais remembers how he struggled to uncover the identity of the repulsive killer. Clues are not readily available but the stubborn Dadais insists that two suspects stick out, egotistical retired sexagenarian "Mr. Prosecutor" Pierre-Ange Destinat and that shadowy Breton war deserter, who admits he committed the murder, but Dadais knows he would have confessed to anything under the torture used to extract his admittance. Others wonder if Dadais wonders if others are as determined to hide the identity of the real culprit as he is to find him..

This is a terrific psychological historical thriller masked somewhat as a police procedural. Dadais is wonderful protagonist looking back at the case that obsessed him and his townsfolk when at the same time they understood the absurdity of caring about one death when millions were "legally" dying nearby. Philippe Claudel cleverly echoes Joseph Stalin's alleged comment that "one death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic." Readers will appreciate this off beat suspense thriller as they wonder just who murdered that little girl.

Harriet Klausner
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Friederike Knabe VINE VOICE on October 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
"I don't really know where to start. It is rather difficult. So much time has passed, that the words can never be recaptured, nor can the faces, the smiles, the wounds." Still, he needs to try, to say what has been burdening his heart for twenty years. Philippe Claudel opens his hauntingly beautiful, dramatic novel with these confessions of his first person narrator. Later on, he explains that words are difficult for him. "During my lifetime, I hardly spoke. Now I write as if I had died since then. And, deep down, that is true. That's the real, true truth. For a long time now, I feel dead. I pretend that I still live a bit. I am on borrowed time. That's all."

The events that continue to disturb the nameless narrator of BY A SLOW RIVER (Les Âmes grises (Le Livre de Poche) (French Edition)) take place in a small town in northern France during World War I, in a region so close to the frontline, that the sounds of war provide a constant rumbling background. In the early days in 1914, town life follows its usual course and the war, assumed to be short lived, does not seem to concern the townspeople too much. The passing soldiers add good business for some and brings much needed work for others. As the narration touches on events later in time, Claudel convincingly evokes the impact on the town of the steadily growing viciousness of war: the hospital fills with wounded and near-dead and starving, exhausted, brutalized soldiers roam the countryside.

However, it is the murder in 1917 of a beautiful ten-year-old girl, Belle de jour, that disrupts the still prevailing attitude of complacency among the important "gentlemen".
Read more ›
6 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
By a Slow River: A Novel
This item: By a Slow River: A Novel
Price: $12.95
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?