Balcony in the Forest (2020)

Balcony in the Forest In the Ardennes Forest on the Belgian border the French guns point north east awaiting the German onslaught One reinforced concrete blockhouse in the heart of the forest is manned this winter of
  • Title: Balcony in the Forest
  • Author: Julien Gracq
  • ISBN: 9780231066730
  • Page: 390
  • Format: Paperback
  • In the Ardennes Forest on the Belgian border the French guns point north east, awaiting the German onslaught One reinforced concrete blockhouse in the heart of the forest is manned, this winter of 1939 40, by Lieutenant Grange with three men, who live in a chalet built over it Cut off from the rest of the world, their senses heightened to capture the sounds and smells ofIn the Ardennes Forest on the Belgian border the French guns point north east, awaiting the German onslaught One reinforced concrete blockhouse in the heart of the forest is manned, this winter of 1939 40, by Lieutenant Grange with three men, who live in a chalet built over it Cut off from the rest of the world, their senses heightened to capture the sounds and smells of the forest, the men create their own security as autumn turns to winter Later, though, when winter turns to spring, when the sap rises and the panzer divisions attack, Lieutenant Grange meets the fate he has never believed he would escape But if this is a story of soldiers, it is not about fighting It is about solitude, about watching and waiting and about love, the young Lieutenant s devotion to Mona, the child widow discovered like a sprite in the forest one rainy night, who, in this surreal period of suspense, becomes his lover.
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    One Reply to “Balcony in the Forest”

    1. Lieutenant Grange is one of those poor dreamers like Walser, like Pessoa, like Eugene Eyestones even who have realized that happiness is the desire to be nothing, but who have been called by circumstances to be something in Grange s case, this something is a watchman in an enchanted forest above a world caught in a reverberating hesitation, anticipating a leap into complete catastrophe Grange the Dreamer finds himself alone on a train in the autumn of 1939 being taken deep into the Ardennes Fore [...]

    2. I don t know if I ve ever read a book that is so much a Mariel kind of book as this one This means nothing to anyone but me I don t care This review is for me and anyone else like me All of the things that I squint view, the staring at lamps and suns squinting, too bright and spotty and unsustainable to find in everything else Julien Gracq would call it the unattainable sea in a shell I m listening as far away as I can All in my own language His was French, originally Not my language Gracq was a [...]

    3. Straight away Julien Gracq emphasizes the irrationality of war and the novel begins as if the main hero is going to some wicked never never land A train for the Domain of Arnheim thought the lieutenant, a great Poe enthusiast, and as he lit a cigarette he leaned his head back against the serge upholstery so his gaze could follow the crest of the high, shaggy cliffs aureoled by the low sun.The beautifully baroque language of the book is in the outright contrast with the dire irreality of everythi [...]

    4. I love when this site leads to masterpieces previously unknown to me Stoner, most memorably, and a few others Now this one Sumptuous prose, never over the top as in The Opposing Shore, steady, flowing, so clear its perception verges on surrealistic swervy poetry Gracq might just be the supreme poet of anticipatory anxiety, and seculsion in a dense forest with the pulse of bombs on the horizon like heat lightning is therefore maybe his ideal setting As in The Opposing Shore, nothing much happens, [...]

    5. Magnifique La po sie de Gracq m a encore transport e, et ce roman vient seconder de tr s pr s Le Rivage des Syrtes, qui est pour l instant mon pr f r de sa bibliographie Cette histoire d angoisse sourde qui monte tout doucement sans qu on veuille la reconna tre, de guerre qui point sans se montrer, m a d ailleurs fait penser au th me de l attente d velopp dans le Rivage, et que l on retrouve ici de fa on plus concr te, peut tre un peu plus accessible Une merveille, que j ai d vor e en deux trait [...]

    6. I have felt, throughout the year, an intensifying fear, an increasing discomfort, a kind of claustrophobia, as though something terrible, something unavoidable, perhaps even fatal, was closing in on me A couple of days ago, this feeling reached an apex, and drove me out of the house around midnight, with no plan or direction in mind However, once outside a strange sort of calm came over me The streets were clear, the sky starless and raven black and the cool air was like clean linen against my s [...]

    7. An unearthly stillness, a limbo, a lull Several seasons passed outside of time in a forest outpost at the edge of the world, yet about to be entirely overrun by history The Balcony In the Forest, perhaps channeling some of Gracq s own wartime experiences, follows a soldier appointed to a four man anti tank bunker on the French Belgian border in late 1939 Amidst interminable uncertainty and dreadful anticipation, he begins to fall in love with his mostly unpopulated natural surroundings, the mist [...]

    8. Julien Gracq, damn This was some of the most beautiful prose I ve read in ages The story revolves around a French soldier stationed in the remote woods during the long run up to WWII There are plot elements about love and war, but the novel sidesteps all conventions and expectations to unfurl its own unusual tale It s a book thick with intoxicating atmosphere, moments filled equally with dread and wonder, grounded it reality but with a strong whiff of magick Anyone who s ever found themselves ma [...]

    9. In the stillness leading up to the 1940 German invasion of France, a reluctant lieutenant and his men occupy a concrete blockhouse in a remote forest near the Belgian border As the slow weeks creep into months, summer turning to autumn giving way to winter, Lieutenant Grange lives a dream like existence, entranced by the forest and the young widow Mona whom he encounters one day on the forest road The stalled war both confounds and lulls Grange into a state of perpetual self examination He wonde [...]

    10. This is supposed to be a seminal piece of French literature about the Phoney War stage of the Second World War It recounts the life of a French officer stationed in a Blockhouse in the Ardennes Forest, up to the point when, at the end, the Germans finally arrive through Belgium This had not been anticipated by the French High Command, in spite of the fact that it was exactly what had happened in the previous war It is full of descriptions of the forest, the soldiers everyday life, doing very lit [...]

    11. Voici l indispensable pendant de l trange d faite de Marc Bloch C est la routine un peu ennuyante qui ressort le plus, l inqui tant n intervient qu la fin du roman, m me si on per oit rapidement que le h ros se retrouve coinc dans une sourici re Il y a bien s r en parall le une intrigue amoureuse, qui se d roule au rythme lent du quotidien dans le blockhaus Toujours aussi bien crit, mais sans l aspect fantastique du Ch teau d Argol, ce roman raconte l tranget de la situation des gardiens de la f [...]

    12. Very beautifully written book in whose subject I had almost no interest but it kept me reading to the end.Set in a fortified guardhouse on the Meuse from 1939 1940 and following a French officer s story in the face of confusion, uncertainty and ultimately defeat, the book flows magnificently.

    13. For some reason, I chose this of all weeks to read about impending doom and a manic pixie dream girl What was I thinking It s beautiful though.

    14. You know how there are some books that you know are really, really great books, but you just slogged through your own reading of them and couldn t wait for them to be over Those, I think, are all of my 3 star ratings on GoodReads.

    15. I received this book as part of NYRB s classic s book club If this is any clue as to the caliber of books it s so worth it What an immensely pleasurable read It transports you into a beautiful internal dreamlike state but has enough tension war is coming that kept me wanting to turn the page Beautiful, slightly haunting, very memorable.

    16. un chef d oeuvre l absurdit de la guerre et l impossibilit de la comprendre, l illusion d tre un spectateur sur un balcon donnant sur une for t enchant e, pareil aux for ts des contes d enfance et les souvenirs d enfance et la difficult de grandir, que faire da la vie ah la beaut de l criture surr aliste de Gracq, un crivain capable de changer le rythme en passant de la lenteur de la contemplation la fr n sie de la sensualit , la merveille de la magie, l aventure de Grange est une page inoubliab [...]

    17. Reminded me of Sartre s trilogy, of course, particularly Iron in the Soul Less political than Sartre, but Gracq is poetic It reads so well that the pages fly by My only complaint is that the main protagonist is the only character fleshed out It really should be written in the first person, but then

    18. Beautiful prose, an apparently excellent translation by Richard Howard.A compelling novel about a thoughtful man who finds himself isolated in a beautiful spot in an incomprehensible war then comes across a gorgeous young possibly underage woman who throws herself at him he discovered he was within her without knowing when it had happened for the rest of my life, please, spare me.

    19. Describes the period after WWII was declared but before the hostilities started The scenes are described beautifully but the story is true to the statement that War is 90% boredom with 10% activity.

    20. I found myself drifting during the descriptions of the forest and perking up at here come the Nazis parts I guess I was in the mood for a work of non fiction.

    21. This novel is set during the Phony War of 1939 1940, and ends, as one knows from the start that it must, when the Germans invade France in May 1940 The protagonist is a French lieutenant named Grange, stationed in a blockhouse near the Belgian border, in the Ardennes Forest We never learn his first name or anything whatever about his past He is literate, sensitive, imaginative This total absence of exposition is remarkable a technique most often found in thrillers And this novel in which nothing [...]

    22. This guy is in the French Army in a little town in a forest waiting for the Germans to attack WWII , when war has been declared but I guess it s not really on yet The feeling of stillness that comes from the something big and scary that is about to happen, that sense of in between ness, of being suspended in this moment that is neither one thing nor another, is expressed through every single thing that happens, and in the setting itself, and prolonged through almost the entire book it s hard to [...]

    23. BU K TAP M KEMMEL lave Lib gen sitesinde kindle format nda ingilizce bas m var, evvelen yky den t rk esini okuyup bay lm t m, tekrar okuyunca bir y ld z sildim gitti b yle r ya gibi tasvirlerle ya an lan deneyimin z n daha da g l aktaran romanlar veya genel olarak a k roman sevenler okusun S rrealist diyorlar ama Breton gibi de il belirli bir s reyi, belirli bir olay erotik, etkileyici tasvir ediyor Orman filan da seven okusun.

    24. Quel bonheur que de lire un r cit r dig dans un style aussi remarquable.L histoire est celle d une attente L attente de la bataille dans une for t des Ardennes pendant la dr le de guerre.L attente est meubl e par la beaut de la nature, l observation des pr paratifs militaires et l amour pour une femme enfant esprit de la for t, d j veuve, crois e par un jour de pluie sur un chemin de la for t.Ce r cit m lancolique m a laiss un grand regret l isssue de la derni re page.

    25. I read this book when I learned of the author s death two years ago and remember liking it and it being quite different Quite a fanciful book, a soldier in the forest primeval while the Germans invade finds love Descriptive imagery and storytelling had me thinking of the movie Pan s Labrynth Sort of an obscure author to Americans

    26. Il y a des gens dont Julien Gracq qui croient que la vie passe et finit de facon absurde Cette these presentee ici avec an une histoire de la drole de guerre est remarquagle depourvu de toute nuance.

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