I liked this best of Giono's books, so far translated in English. It is probable that the high award of merit made to the film based on Harvest, and the present popularity of The Baker's Wife, another Giono film, have succeeded in putting his name before the public in a way that his novels might never have done. His is a strange talent -- there is an aesthetic quality, a note of idealism, which makes his stories almost ""other worldly."" He writes in this new novel, of a people living remote from the industrial, machine age, in the mountain pastures of southern France, and of the stranger who came among them and showed them the way to beauty and to cooperative effort. In so doing, he became unwittingly involved in romance -- but it was not for that he had sought them out, and, when it ended tragically, he went away. There is a tenuous quality to Giono's style, an elusive simplicity, along with a beauty of thought and expression, that makes him not always easy to follow, nor tuned to the general level of popular taste. This, however, has more of a chance to go over with the average reader than anything he has done. A fine translation.