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  • 9781913547387_FC
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Publication date
24th February 2022


Gallic Books


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Julian Evans


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US publication date
24th February 2022



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The Foundling Boy

(Le jeune homme vert)

Author Michel Déon


A modern French classic translated into English for the first time.

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Reissued in Editions Gallic, Michel Déon’s coming-of-age novel is a twentieth-century French Classic.

It is 1919. On a summer’s night in Normandy, a new-born baby is left in a basket outside the home of Albert and Jeanne Arnaud. The childless couple take the foundling in, name him Jean, and decide to raise him as their own, though his parentage remains a mystery.

Though Jean’s life is never dull, he grows up knowing little of what lies beyond his local area. Until the day he sets off on his bicycle to discover the world, and encounters a Europe on the threshold of interesting times…

‘Our lives would be all the richer if we read a Michel Déon novel – a modern classic’ William Boyd
‘I loved this book for the way, in its particularities and its casual narration, it admitted me to a world I knew nothing about, and the many ways it made me care. It is not just a glimpse into the past, but the study of the heart of a man and his times.’ Paul Theroux
‘Inspired by Henry Fielding’s 18th-century novel Tom Jones, about a similarly clueless but likable character making his way on the road of life. As witty as its English forebear but with French savoir-faire, The Foundling Boy may win new readers for books translated from French.’ New York Times
‘Quiet, wryly funny prose … a delight’ Independent on Sunday
‘It is shamefully parochial of us that this eminent writer has been so ignored by the anglophone world’ Sunday Times
‘A big-hearted coming-of-age shaggy-dog story … [Déon’s] novel leaves you feeling better about life’ The Spectator
‘Remarkable … Rooted in 19th-century realism but profoundly subversive of its conventions … Deserves a place alongside Flaubert’s Sentimental Education and Le Grand Meaulnes.’ New Statesman
‘This first volume alone is a satisfying piece of writing, and it makes a welcome addition to an all-too-neglected body of French fiction in English’ Times Literary Supplement
‘Michel Déon is a storyteller par excellence, and if The Foundling Boy is your first encounter with him, you couldn’t have a better introduction.’ Irish Times
‘An enjoyable read that doesn’t try too hard to be anything more than a very entertaining story and yet still hits home sufficiently hard as to the state of the nation and society in those strange decades’ The Complete Review
‘Mature, relaxed storytelling, balancing human nature with historical inevitability; a pleasure for traditionalists generally and Francophiles in particular’ Kirkus reviews
‘A warm, engaging, delightful read … It will leave you wanting more’ Freewheeling France
The Foundling Boy is wonderful, a really enjoyable novel. It’s a book you fly through, sepia-tinted, but with a razor-sharp drollness, a Bildungsroman of the best kind’ Tony’s Reading List
The Foundling Boy is a legitimate, if not yet fully grown, heir to the great line of storytellers running from Fielding to Giono.’ Le Figaro
‘He takes the world which died between the wars and patiently dissects it for us’ Magazine littéraire
‘An imaginative adventure that is both captivating and moving‘ Pierre Moustiers
‘A welcome addition to the literature of the inter-war period’ Le Monde

Julian Evans is a writer and translator from French and German. He has also written and presented radio and television documentaries and writes for English and French newspapers and magazines including the Guardian, Prospect, Times Literary Supplement and L’Atelier du Roman. He is a recipient of the Prix du Rayonnement de la Langue Française from the Académie Française.

Michel Déon

Meet the author

Michel Déon, who was born in Paris and died in Galway in 2016 at the age of 97, was the author of more than 50 works of fiction and non-fiction, and a member of the Académie Française. His 1970 novel Les Poneys Sauvages was awarded the prestigious Prix Interallié and in 1973 Un Taxi Mauve (later mad…

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