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,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!