THE TIME OF SECRETS by Marcel Pagnol


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This is the second installment of Pagnol's autobiography --and it is even more delightful than the first (The Days Were Too Short, Doubleday, p. 785- 1960). Marcel's very early teen years find the youngster becoming more aware of other people and the meaning of their actions. He no longer accepts unquestioningly, but begins to draw conclusions from his observations. One technique employed to splendid (and sometimes hilarious) effect by Pagnol and his skillful translator, Rita Barousse, is to follow the encounters with new words being added to the boy's vocabulary: first, phonetic absorption of how a word might be spelled (and rendering this into English cannot have been easy); then gradual comprehension of the word's meaning, and finally, the trip to Larousse for the proper orthography. The amusing re-creation of his first exposure to puppy love is also gently assisted by the imaginative translation. His scholastic progress to the environs of the is accompanied by the development of a righteous, somewhat rakish, contempt for snobbery. The quality of style is simply (and properly) naturalistic, but the poetic effect verges on the ethereal, and this charming child revivifies one's own sweetest memories of childhood.

Pub Date: July 13th, 1962
Publisher: Doubleday