Books: French Thoreau

BLUE BOY—Jean Giono; translated by Katherine A. Clarke—Viking ($2.75).

Jean Giono has been called the French Thoreau. Giono's dusty Provençal towns and Alpine foothills are a long way from Walden Pond, but he writes with a Thoreau-like conviction that the only good life is the "natural" (non-city) life. And like Thoreau, who once spent a night in jail for refusing to pay his poll tax, Giono went to jail rather than obey his government's mobilization order in September 1939.*

But Giono has little of Thoreau's warm passion for facts of nature, even less of his intellectual Puritanism. Born in 1895, at Manosque, Basses-Alpes,...

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