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  • 9781910477786_fc
Edition details


eBook ISBN

Publication date
16th July 2020


Gallic Books

PB Demy

Extent (number of pages)

Alison Anderson


UK & Commonwealth (excluding ANZ)

BIC category


A Strange Country

(Un étrange pays)


A Strange Country, the latest novel from bestselling author Muriel Barbery, will transport readers to a lost world exposed to the constant churn of civilisations and remind them of the power of poetry and imagination.

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One cold November night in Extremadura in the sixth year of a terrible war, Alejandro de Yepes and his loyal lieutenant Jesús Rocamora discover intruders inside the cellars of the castillo. Leaving no footprints in the snow, a curious threesome has come seeking peace and friendship – and a glass or two of wine. Behind their cheerful exterior lies the gravest of missions: to save a dying world.

From the bestselling author of The Life of Elves and The Elegance of the Hedgehog comes this call to wonder: an enchanting, witty and timely meditation on the interconnectedness of peoples, of the human and natural worlds, and of the living and the dead.

The novel could be read as an allegory for the challenges that face our modern world, from the controversy surrounding our borders to climate change. Or, it may be seen as a strange and poetic fantasy similar to the work of Tolkien. In either case, it is a beautiful book about what it means to be brave and how we all must work to save ourselves and each other. San Francisco Book Review
‘Bewitching … [an] enchanting hero’s journey’ Foreword Reviews 
‘A mix of J.R.R. Tolkien and Hayao Miyazaki, epic in scope yet grounded by humor’ Publishers Weekly
‘Readers who love meditative, dreamlike fiction will enjoy this translation, which rings with the music of the original French’ Booklist
‘A marvellous mixture of fairytale, poetry, fable and adventure story’ Le Figaro
Praise for The Life of Elves
‘A truly enchanting story, beautifully told and rich in meaning (…) this book truly deserves to be read by story lovers of all ages’ Irish Times
‘A beguiling fairy tale’ New York Times
‘Vivid imagery and a thread of mystery draw readers into the timeless and ethereal world of these young girls with a destiny to fulfill’ Booklist
‘An emotional, entertaining examination of magic in the modern world’ France Today
‘…this fervent, idiosyncratic fable is undeniable evidence of a richly lyrical imagination’ Kirkus Reviews
Praise for The Elegance of the Hedgehog
‘Resistance is futile … you might as well buy it before someone recommends it for your book group. Its charm will make you say yes’ The Guardian
‘Clever, informative and moving … this is an admirable novel which deserves as wide a readership here as it had in France’ The Observer
‘The novel wins over its fans with a life-affirming message, a generous portion of heart and Barbery’s frequently wicked sense of humor’ Time Magazine
‘A book of great charm and grace’ Metro
‘The book’s attractive, Amélie-esque Parisian setting and cast of eccentrics will appeal to many’ Sunday Telegraph
‘This breathtakingly singular novel … is totally French yet completely universal’ Good Housekeeping
‘Reveals itself as a version of the Cinderella fairytale’ Financial Times

Alison Anderson is the author of three novels and the translator of around 100 books, including works by Amélie Nothomb and J. M. G. Le Clézio.

Muriel Barbery

Meet the author

Muriel Barbery is the author of four previous novels, including the IMPAC-shortlisted multimillion-copy bestseller The Elegance of the Hedgehog. She has lived in Kyoto, Amsterdam and Paris and now lives in the French countryside. Praise for Muriel Barbery ‘[The Life of Elves] could be read as an all…

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