This welcome volume brings to English-language readers two beautifully crafted works by the internationally acclaimed French author Pierre Michon. Populated by distant and little-known figures-Irish and French monks, saints, and scientists in Winter Mythologies; Benedictine monks in the Vendée region of France in Abbots-the tales frequently draw on obscure histories and other literary sources.
Michon brings his characters to life in spare, evocative prose. Each, in his or her own way, exemplifies a power of belief that brings about an achievement-or catastrophe-in the real world: monasteries are built upon impossibly muddy wastes, monks acquire the power of speech, lives are taken, books are written, saints are created on the flimsiest of evidence. Michon’s exploration in ancient archives has led him to the discovery of such often deluded figures and their deeds, and his own exceptional powers bestow upon them a renewed life on the written page. This in turn is an example of the power of belief, which for Michon is what makes literature itself possible. Winter Mythologies and Abbots are meant to be read slowly, to be savored, to be mined for the secrets Michon has to tell.