Side Piece – Le Grand Meaulnes

le grand It was written before the 1980’s, therefore before greed was good, which means in a time full of baloney. It was 1913 (whenever that was) and Blue Horseshoe didn’t care about Endicott Steel and the world was full of dreamers. You may respect the humans of that time for starting WW1 and KIA, WIA or MIA-ing 38M peeps, but they were a pack of hopeless romantics. Enter Alain Fournier, the frog who penned Le Grand Meaulnes. If you check him out on Wikipedia, it’s clear if he lived to be 600, he would never have penned “I got 99-problems and a bitch ain’t one.” He appears to be a perfect gentleman and has a wonderful little story in his entry…

“while he was taking a stroll along banks of the Seine he had met Yvonne Marie Elise Toussaint de Quiévrecourt, with whom he became deeply enamored. The two spoke, but he did not manage to win her favors. The following year on the same day he waited for her at the same place, but she did not appear. That night he told Rivière, “She did not come. And even if she had, she would not have been the same.” They did not meet again until eight years later, when she was married with two children. Yvonne de Quiévrecourt would become Yvonne de Galais in his novel.”

Amazing stuff to have in your life. Showing up a year later to torture yourself…it worked. You pumped out a fine book, which Le Monde lists as an all-time book. From today’s perspective, it’s sappy, but captures the angst of reflecting on missed opportunities and although that blows dog, it’s part of growing up as a person and as a reader of written reflections.

We can’t recommend it, as its pretty dated and pie-in-the sky stuff, but it isn’t rubbish, it’s sincere. Boy meets girl on bridge, girl is elusive, at age 27, boy gets killed in the trenches. As with Catcher in the Rye, there is no follow-up, but Alain has an excuse.

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