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In the Absence of Men


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'An astonishing love story, beautifully told' Time Out 20030303

About the Author

Philippe Besson is the author of two novels, En L'Absence des hommes and Mon Fr-re. He was born in 1967 in Charente and now lives in Paris.


'An astonishing love story, beautifully told' Time Out

Although this introspective, melancholy first novel about the rapture of young love is not without its weaknesses, there is much that Besson carries off quite skillfully. Particularly well drawn is his protagonist, a precocious 16-year-old named Vincent who finds himself involved with two very different men during one remarkable summer. Set in Paris during World War I, the novel depicts Vincent's intense and tragic introduction to romantic and sexual love. Vincent's star-crossed relationship with longtime acquaintance Arthur, a 22-year-old soldier, blossoms during the single week of Arthur's furlough from the front. The other man in Vincent's life is legendary French writer Marcel Proust, whose flirtatious friendship with Vincent is convincingly depicted. Some aspects of the novel might have been more fully realized, especially the historical context and the psychological complexities within this love triangle, but this is nonetheless a story told with considerable insight and sensitivity. Recommended for libraries with large modern fiction collections.-Patrick Sullivan, Manchester Community Coll., Manchester, CT Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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