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Publication date
16th July 2020


Gallic Books

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Extent (number of pages)

Alison Anderson


UK & Commonwealth (excluding ANZ)

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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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Alejandro de Yepes and Jesús Rocamora, young officers in the Spanish army, are stationed alone during the longest war in the history of humankind. When the mysterious Petrus appears out of nowhere, they abandon their post to follow him – across a bridge they cannot see.

Petrus’s world is one of lingering fog, strange beings and extraordinary beauty. It is also where the fate of our world, and all its living creatures, is decided. Yet it is under threat. As the battle against the forces of disenchantment draws to a climactic close, can poetry and beauty prevail over darkness and death? And what role will Alejandro and Jesús play?

Muriel Barbery’s richly imagined new work, a companion novel to The Life of Elves, will transport readers to a lost world exposed to the constant churn of civilisations and remind them of the power of poetry and imagination.

‘A mix of J.R.R. Tolkien and Hayao Miyazaki, epic in scope yet grounded by humor’ Publishers Weekly
‘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
Muriel Barbery

Meet the author

Muriel Barbery is a former lecturer in philosophy and the bestselling author of IMPAC-shortlisted novel The Elegance of the Hedgehog. Published in France in 2006 and in the UK in 2008, it has gone on to sell more than 6 million copies worldwide and has been described by Le Figaro as ‘the publishing…

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