Jean-Baptiste Baratte, an engineer of modest origin, arrives in the city in 1785, charged by the King’s minister with emptying the overflowing cemetery of Les Innocents, a ancient site whose stench is poisoning the neighborhood’s air and water and leaving a vile taste in its inhabitants’ food. At... show more
Jean-Baptiste Baratte, an engineer of modest origin, arrives in the city in 1785, charged by the King’s minister with emptying the overflowing cemetery of Les Innocents, a ancient site whose stench is poisoning the neighborhood’s air and water and leaving a vile taste in its inhabitants’ food. At first the ambitious Baratte sees his work as a chance to clear the burden of history, a fitting task for a modern man of reason. But before long he begins to suspect that the destruction of the cemetery might be a prelude to both his own demise and that of the monarchy. Baratte expects the task to be unpleasant but cannot foresee the dramas and calamities it will trigger, or the incident that will transform his life. As unrest against the court of Louis XVI mounts, the engineer realizes that the future he had planned may no longer be the one he wants. His assignment becomes a year of relentless work, exhuming of mummified corpses and listening to the chants of priests, a year of assault and sudden death. A year of friendship, too, and of desire and love. A year unlike any other he has lived.
Publish date: May 29th 2012
Publisher: Europa Editions
Pages no: 336
Edition language: English
, European Literature
, British Literature
, Book Club
, Historical Fiction
, Literary Fiction
, 18th Century
This is the third book I've read off of my "Genre Novels That Should Be Classics" reading list in a quest to expand my book choices beyond my normal comfort zone. I'm not a big historical fiction reader. Sometimes it makes appearances in my Fantasy or Science Fiction picks, but I never avidly seek i...
Andrew Miller pulls the reader in with his haunting descriptions and rather interesting storyline. The protagonist, Jean-Baptiste, is tasked by his superiors to cleanse Les Innocence, an overflowing cemetery in Paris, which has a lot of sentimental attachments to it – some more obvious than others. ...
I'm usually wary of historical fiction. Generally the novels can seem a bit naff, niche-y and two dimensional. However I picked up Pure on the back of a Times review that assured me that it stood apart from the rest of the genre; that it would 'expand the mind'. This book has received a slew of ...
I finished the audiobook version, narrated by Jonathan Aris, two days ago. I had to in fact listen to the ending three times; the details were confusing - which kind of annoyed me! I do think I understand the message that was being imparted by the final scene. Anyway, what I most enjoyed about this ...
But.. what's with the elephant?