THE CATALANS by Patrick O'Brian


A Novel
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A successor to Testimonies is again a chaste, scrupulous and precise performance-discreet- and to a certain extent, inanimate. And from the Welsh mountains of the first, this shifts to the small coastal village of Saint- Feliu in Catalonia with its medieval heritage and proud, autonomous independence. The rather passionate, spiritual conflict of the earlier book assumes a more intellectualized tenor here. Alain Roig, a research doctor, returns to his native village where the prospective marriage of his cousin Xavier to a young girl, Madeleine, following her divorce from a shiftless painter, presages only a disastrous mesalliance to his Aunt Margot. In the weeks which follow, Alain is a reluctant intermediary to whom his aunt complains, while Xavier, the family "phoenix" about to become an "errant fowl", confides in some monents of chilly self- examination. And Alain too is susceptible to the loveliness of Madeleine, and during the seasonal vintage, with its additional festivities, woos her after the night's revelry and escapes with her to another life.... There's a fastidious detail here, of place and character and convention, a reserved scrutiny and an often subtle sense of moral abstraction- which direct this only towards the more discerning reader.
Pub Date: Oct. 9th, 1953
ISBN: 0393329720
Page count: 223pp
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1953


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