Wednesday, May 25, 2005

"The End of Robinson Crusoe" by Michel Tournier

"What did ever happen to Robinson Crusoe?" Perhaps this question has kept you awake at night, and so Michel Tournier obliges in this translation by Barbara Wright... The author takes it for granted that we are familiar with the DeFoe novel, which he had already rewritten, radically, in his 1967 novel, Friday or The Other Island. Read by Scoot.

Michel Tournier rewrote his own version of Crusoe for children as Friday and Robinson in 1971; before and since he has been tackling history and historical figures often in his philosophical fiction. "The most gifted and original novelist to emerge from France since the [second world] war" is what the book jackets proclaim, and we are not ones to argue. His second novel, a retelling of the Erl King fable set in Third Reich Germany and translated as The Ogre, is even more highly regarded than Friday--in Tournier's works legend, myth, and the modern world often intertwine. A novel based on the life of St. Sebastian is reportedly still in the works.

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