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My Father's Glory & My Mother's Castle: Marcel Pagnol's Memories of Childhood

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Bathed in the warm clarity of the summer sun in Provence, Marcel Pagnol's childhood memories celebrate a time of rare beauty and delight.Called by Jean Renoir "the leading film artist of his age," Pagnol is best known for such films as The Baker's Wife, Harvest, Fanny, and Topaze, as well as the screen adaptations of his novels Jean de Florette and Manon of the Springs (No Bathed in the warm clarity of the summer sun in Provence, Marcel Pagnol's childhood memories celebrate a time of rare beauty and delight.Called by Jean Renoir "the leading film artist of his age," Pagnol is best known for such films as The Baker's Wife, Harvest, Fanny, and Topaze, as well as the screen adaptations of his novels Jean de Florette and Manon of the Springs (North Point, 1988). But he never forgot the magic of his Provencal childhood, and when he set his memories to paper late in life the result was a great new success. My Father's Glory and My Mother's Castle appeared on the scene like a fresh breeze, captivating readers with its sweet enchantments. Pagnol recalls his days hunting and fishing in the hill country, his jaunts about Marseilles, his schoolboy diversions, and above all his family: his anticlerical father and sanctimonious uncle, his mild and beautiful mother, and many others. This bright and lively book sparkles with the charm and magic that were Marcel Pagnol's own.


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Bathed in the warm clarity of the summer sun in Provence, Marcel Pagnol's childhood memories celebrate a time of rare beauty and delight.Called by Jean Renoir "the leading film artist of his age," Pagnol is best known for such films as The Baker's Wife, Harvest, Fanny, and Topaze, as well as the screen adaptations of his novels Jean de Florette and Manon of the Springs (No Bathed in the warm clarity of the summer sun in Provence, Marcel Pagnol's childhood memories celebrate a time of rare beauty and delight.Called by Jean Renoir "the leading film artist of his age," Pagnol is best known for such films as The Baker's Wife, Harvest, Fanny, and Topaze, as well as the screen adaptations of his novels Jean de Florette and Manon of the Springs (North Point, 1988). But he never forgot the magic of his Provencal childhood, and when he set his memories to paper late in life the result was a great new success. My Father's Glory and My Mother's Castle appeared on the scene like a fresh breeze, captivating readers with its sweet enchantments. Pagnol recalls his days hunting and fishing in the hill country, his jaunts about Marseilles, his schoolboy diversions, and above all his family: his anticlerical father and sanctimonious uncle, his mild and beautiful mother, and many others. This bright and lively book sparkles with the charm and magic that were Marcel Pagnol's own.

30 review for My Father's Glory & My Mother's Castle: Marcel Pagnol's Memories of Childhood

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    Marcel Pagnol's memoir of a childhood in the South of France is perhaps one of the two or three best books ever written about childhood. My Father's Glory & My Mother's Castle: Marcel Pagnol's Memories of Childhood are bound as if they were two separate works, but I see them as a single continuum. I had actually read My Father's Glory a couple of years ago, so I will confine my comments here to My Mother's Castle, which carries on the adventures of Marcel's loving family. There are two episodes w Marcel Pagnol's memoir of a childhood in the South of France is perhaps one of the two or three best books ever written about childhood. My Father's Glory & My Mother's Castle: Marcel Pagnol's Memories of Childhood are bound as if they were two separate works, but I see them as a single continuum. I had actually read My Father's Glory a couple of years ago, so I will confine my comments here to My Mother's Castle, which carries on the adventures of Marcel's loving family. There are two episodes which dominate this second volume. The first is the character of Lili, a young boy Marcel's age who is at home in the wilds of Provence and teaches Marcel what he knows:Lili knew everything: what the weather would be like, where the hidden springs were, and the ravines where you can find mushrooms, wild lettuce, almond-pinetrees, aloe, arbutus; he knew where, deep in some thicket, a few vine-stocks remained which had been spared by the phylloxera and on which were ripening, in solitude, clusters of tart, but delicious, grapes. He could make a three-hole flute from a reed. He would take a very dry branch of clematis, cut off a length between two knots and, thanks to the thousand invisible channels which ran with the grain of the wood, you could smoke it like a cigar.A useful friend to have if you are a growing boy! The second is a long episode about the families weekend movements from town to their rural retreat at Les Ballons. The trouble is, that entails a six mile walk both ways laden down with food and household goods. By chance, the father meets an old acquaintance, a canal inspector named Bouzique, who allows him to follow the canals and cut a couple hours off their walk -- though it involves the father passing himself off as a canal employee. At one point, the family is stopped by a brutish caretaker who threatens to turn him in. How Bouzique solves the problems is a classic. This is a book that one quickly grows to love.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Adrianna

    Another lovely French novel adapted to the screen. This is one case where the movie is almost as well-done as the novel. I was interested to see that while the movie version includes a very French account of young Marcel entrapped in calf love with a petulant young girl who uses him abominably, it was not so in the novel. I was happy that this was solely a "Hollywood" construct, because it had always been my least favorite part. Pagnol's memoirs evoked in me a heart-rending yearning for the halcy Another lovely French novel adapted to the screen. This is one case where the movie is almost as well-done as the novel. I was interested to see that while the movie version includes a very French account of young Marcel entrapped in calf love with a petulant young girl who uses him abominably, it was not so in the novel. I was happy that this was solely a "Hollywood" construct, because it had always been my least favorite part. Pagnol's memoirs evoked in me a heart-rending yearning for the halcyon days of Provence at the turn of the 20th century. The many accounts of the solicitous care he took of his mother- even at such a young age, the undeniable sense of honor shown by his father, the friendliness of strangers, the seeming simplicity of the time, all left me wishing I could travel back and experience this first-hand. I would consider this an excellent vacation novel. It is easily picked up and set down at will; it meanders pleasantly along without compelling you forward. It is simultaneously lighthearted and complex. A sweeping landscape of words for the senses. The accounts are riddled with subtle humor and familial affection that draw you in and settle comfortably around you. This work has shot straight to my favorites shelf. I highly recommend the book and the movie. The film version in French with subtitle options is the best, if you can find it. A quick look on Amazon shows either a dubbed English (which would lose the beautiful cadence of French lyricism) or the original French without subtitles. Neither is preferably for obvious reasons, but the former recommendation may be available through the library.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sylvester

    A beautifully vivid account of Pagnol's childhood. The passionate rawness of childhood is so well expressed in these two books - even if you don't like the fact that most of "My Father's Glory" is based around hunting and netting birds - you will have to admit that Pagnol recounts the pitfalls and wonders of growing up with great detail and skill. I liked "My Mother's Castle" better than the first. Pagnol really has a way with words - an example: "In a purple velvet sky, innumerable stars were gl A beautifully vivid account of Pagnol's childhood. The passionate rawness of childhood is so well expressed in these two books - even if you don't like the fact that most of "My Father's Glory" is based around hunting and netting birds - you will have to admit that Pagnol recounts the pitfalls and wonders of growing up with great detail and skill. I liked "My Mother's Castle" better than the first. Pagnol really has a way with words - an example: "In a purple velvet sky, innumerable stars were glistening. They were not the gentle stars of summer. Hard, bright, and cold they gleamed, congealed by the night frost...over Tete-Rouge, invisible in the darkness, a big planet was hanging like a lantern, so close you could imagine you could see the empty space behind it. Not a sound, not a murmur, and in the icy silence our steps rang out on the hard winter stones."

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nigel

    (Add another half-star please) A wise and poignant childhood memoir from one of France's most popular film auteurs (Pagnol created the wonderful duology Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources), this is an elegy to his beloved Provence and the parents who reared him. Speckled with acuity both witty and sentimental, it takes you to a pre-WW1 world in which peasants still existed, and the traversing of huge distances on foot was undertaken unquestioningly by the petit-bourgeoisie. This reader, never (Add another half-star please) A wise and poignant childhood memoir from one of France's most popular film auteurs (Pagnol created the wonderful duology Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources), this is an elegy to his beloved Provence and the parents who reared him. Speckled with acuity both witty and sentimental, it takes you to a pre-WW1 world in which peasants still existed, and the traversing of huge distances on foot was undertaken unquestioningly by the petit-bourgeoisie. This reader, never having understood the boyish practice of torturing insects, and having been blessed with never needing to kill for food, felt occasionally excluded by the book's many references to both, but the author's adoration for the life he's remembering transcends any such alienation in the end. Look, it's not a profound read (as the TLS review on the back cover says, 'the Prousts and the Sartres may be admired, but Pagnol is loved'), but it's a romantic one, and you get to shed a tear or two at the end. A simple, beautifully expressed devotion.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Wayne

    Just did a REread of these two wonderful books under the Title "The Days Were Too Short" which captures the Nostalgia of their subject without any mawkish sentimentality ...and therein lies their strength, while retaining charm and humour and sorrow. A brilliant recounting of Provencal Lives and a Childhood. THERE ARE NO SPOILERS IN THIS RAVE !!!! I read these two books under the One Title of "The Days Were Too Short" in the early 1960's. Marcel Pagnol wrote and had them published in 1957 when he was Just did a REread of these two wonderful books under the Title "The Days Were Too Short" which captures the Nostalgia of their subject without any mawkish sentimentality ...and therein lies their strength, while retaining charm and humour and sorrow. A brilliant recounting of Provencal Lives and a Childhood. THERE ARE NO SPOILERS IN THIS RAVE !!!! I read these two books under the One Title of "The Days Were Too Short" in the early 1960's. Marcel Pagnol wrote and had them published in 1957 when he was 62 years old. He died in 1975 having written two more books about his Provencal Childhood. I was surprised to discover recently that the books were originally written for children and were quite brief...having read the first 20 pages I have my doubts about this!!! The English Title really picks up on the heavy Nostalgic Feel that these books convey, very probably not to children who are too young to be 'nostalgic', but with adults this aspect of a Lost Past has absolutely WOWED them. AND me !!! And Unashamedly so. One has only to read the reviews here and Everyone is totally besotted even though Most of Us never had a Provencal Childhood; but we all had....a Childhood !!...and somehow they were all touched by a Magic of some kind. Innocence, first experiences, gullibility, naivety, first happinesses and first griefs... all are Common yet Unique - the environments, the families, the times, the child etc. A Lost World...and Life will never have that magic again. I haven't read them since the 60's, but I have NEVER forgotten them. Mine were condensed by Reader's Digest...as if they weren't short enough !!! BUT I have NEVER let that book go. It was something very precious to me and still is. It has followed me around and always found its niche on my Bookshelves. The memory of it is painful as well as delightful...that is because of the 'nostalgia' of course. I could feel it in the reviews...and I read ALL of them. Two films, named for the first two books - My Father's Glory" and "My Mother's Castle"- were released around 1990 accompanied by very evocative music. Of course I saw them, as I'm sure any Fan of the books would have as soon as they became aware of them...you see, we were actually ADDICTED....and still are I bet!! Happily addicted, which is what addicton is all about surely. In a way I dread having to read them again...will I survive another exposure ?? WATCH THIS SPACE then !!!!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bob

    It's laugh-out-loud funny, sweet, and best of all reminds me how much fun it was to be a little boy. But it also features some quietly sophisticated thoughts on ethical dilemmas -- religion vs. atheism, embodied in Uncle Jules and Joseph, truth and lying exemplified in the tales he tells his brother and his rage at being lef out of the hunting expeditions, and the difference in the wisdom of the cities and the countryside. I thought it really interesting to see how many of the themes from Jean d It's laugh-out-loud funny, sweet, and best of all reminds me how much fun it was to be a little boy. But it also features some quietly sophisticated thoughts on ethical dilemmas -- religion vs. atheism, embodied in Uncle Jules and Joseph, truth and lying exemplified in the tales he tells his brother and his rage at being lef out of the hunting expeditions, and the difference in the wisdom of the cities and the countryside. I thought it really interesting to see how many of the themes from Jean de Florette figure in these memoirs -- revenge by children, the secretiveness and poverty of the country people, and the unexpeced kindness. The brevi:ty and fragility of our lives is treated in a joyful and uplifting way.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    Lovely memoir of Marcel Pagnol's childhood in France. He was able to put such realism into his Fanny trilogy of movies because he really understood the people of Marseilles. I wish my French were good enough to read this in the original language, but... Lovely memoir of Marcel Pagnol's childhood in France. He was able to put such realism into his Fanny trilogy of movies because he really understood the people of Marseilles. I wish my French were good enough to read this in the original language, but...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michael Manzano

    This charming memoir was a wonderful glimpse through a child's eyes at life in Provence in the middle years of the Third Republic. Marcel Pagnol was as brilliant a writer as he was a film maker and this funny and heart warming remembrance was a complete delight for me. This charming memoir was a wonderful glimpse through a child's eyes at life in Provence in the middle years of the Third Republic. Marcel Pagnol was as brilliant a writer as he was a film maker and this funny and heart warming remembrance was a complete delight for me.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Bart

    Actual rating: 4.00

  10. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    This book is a charming evocation of rural Provence at the beginning of the 20th century. Having visited the region a few times, I can almost smell the thyme, sage and fennel flowing from its pages. We follow the story through young Marcel’s eyes. It is a tale told from the point of view of a child and must be understood as such. We uncover an idealised picture of Provencial France before film, TV, radio and motorised transport. We find free-range children respecting their parents and strangers b This book is a charming evocation of rural Provence at the beginning of the 20th century. Having visited the region a few times, I can almost smell the thyme, sage and fennel flowing from its pages. We follow the story through young Marcel’s eyes. It is a tale told from the point of view of a child and must be understood as such. We uncover an idealised picture of Provencial France before film, TV, radio and motorised transport. We find free-range children respecting their parents and strangers being kind. Some have commented that the book is a little too sweet, but Pagnol appears to be well aware that children don’t have the sophisticated comprehension that adults do and we see young Marcel's world as he sees it, not necessarily how his parents or Uncle Jules would have seen it. And as we get older, we are perhaps a little selective with our childhood memories. As the writer was in his 50s when he wrote the book, he was able to allow plenty of of humour to creep in, in between the lines, especially when dealing with things like the church, atheism and lying to children. I have to admit it was a little hard for a vegetarian to appreciate the enthusiasm for hunting and killing birds, but I did appreciate the carefree, summer holiday, summer holidays like they used to be. Adventure, curiosity, outdoors fun and growing up. Marcel’s idolisation of his father is challenged when it turns out that Uncle Jules knows far more about hunting than Joseph. You’ll have to read it to find out whether Marcel’s pride in his father returns. Marcel Pagnol is describing the rural world we have lost in a similar way that Thomas Hardy did in English, perhaps with a little more general happiness. The book is autobiographical, even using his own name and the names of members of his family. Once Marcel got lost in the mountains, I couldn’t put the book down.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Oceana2602

    I did not like this book. I very much did not like this book. Or, wait, I can't really say that, I think, because I didn't finish it, although the book itself, from what I read, was fine. Nothing wrong with the writing. What I did not like was the author, and since Marcel/Marcel and Isabelle are stories about the author's childhood (in Provence, as the title says), I simply couldn't stand to read the book. And I can also tell you (almost) exactly when I decided that I disliked the author so much I did not like this book. I very much did not like this book. Or, wait, I can't really say that, I think, because I didn't finish it, although the book itself, from what I read, was fine. Nothing wrong with the writing. What I did not like was the author, and since Marcel/Marcel and Isabelle are stories about the author's childhood (in Provence, as the title says), I simply couldn't stand to read the book. And I can also tell you (almost) exactly when I decided that I disliked the author so much that I wouldn't continue reading it, except I managed to forget most of the details (fortunately). But in short, there was a scene with the author and some kind of animal (I think it may have been a pig) that made me decide that the author was the kind of kid I HATE in real life, and yes, it probably wasn't his fault, and we can't help the way we are brought up and all that, and the author might be a perfectly nice person nowadays, but really, do I need to subject myself to reading a book about a kid I'd slap in the face if I were to met it in real life (except that I don't hit children, but I sure feel like doing it when I meet kids like that)? No, I don't. So, I didn't finish this. But, the writing was good for as far as I made it. That's something at least.

  12. 5 out of 5

    James

    Looking at the reviews before reading this book I was very certain that I would like it and determined not to use the word charming which permeates almost every review. Well I loved this book and it is ridiculously charming. It is not twee or canned but in the stories of Maurice Pagnols youth in the Provence at the start of the 20th century you have a story so shot through with love, affection and humor that it positively oozes with charm. In fact the book practically leans over and tickles you Looking at the reviews before reading this book I was very certain that I would like it and determined not to use the word charming which permeates almost every review. Well I loved this book and it is ridiculously charming. It is not twee or canned but in the stories of Maurice Pagnols youth in the Provence at the start of the 20th century you have a story so shot through with love, affection and humor that it positively oozes with charm. In fact the book practically leans over and tickles you with its charm. The book is an unfettered and unlikely combination of a celebration of the joys of childhood, the love of parents and freedom. Absolutely brilliant with a punch at the end.

  13. 4 out of 5

    A.

    I grew up hearing about Marcel Pagnol, as if he was an extended member of my French family who I hadn't met yet. My grandmother read all his books. My mother did. And my brother. But of course the books were in French and I hadn't thought, until recently, to see if there were any English translations. I'm so grateful there are! Getting to read Marcel Pagnol was, indeed, like meeting a relative, whose sense of humor and warmth and love reminded me so much of my family. I just finished the books a I grew up hearing about Marcel Pagnol, as if he was an extended member of my French family who I hadn't met yet. My grandmother read all his books. My mother did. And my brother. But of course the books were in French and I hadn't thought, until recently, to see if there were any English translations. I'm so grateful there are! Getting to read Marcel Pagnol was, indeed, like meeting a relative, whose sense of humor and warmth and love reminded me so much of my family. I just finished the books and am genuinely choked up. This is a beautiful, moving tribute—of Pagnol's family, and in a wonderful, bittersweet way, my family too.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    My Father's Glory - A charming depiction of a simpler time as experienced through the eyes of a child. Pagnol really knows how to take everyday situations and imbue them with profound beauty and adventure. I'm sure the second volume, 'My Mother's Castle,' will be just as good! My Mother's Castle - Another wonderful book from Pagnol. Whilst I believe that 'My Father's Glory' was marginally better, this is still a fantastic book and a beautiful ode to Pagnol's mother. Also had to fight back one or My Father's Glory - A charming depiction of a simpler time as experienced through the eyes of a child. Pagnol really knows how to take everyday situations and imbue them with profound beauty and adventure. I'm sure the second volume, 'My Mother's Castle,' will be just as good! My Mother's Castle - Another wonderful book from Pagnol. Whilst I believe that 'My Father's Glory' was marginally better, this is still a fantastic book and a beautiful ode to Pagnol's mother. Also had to fight back one or two tears with the last couple of chapters!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kerry

    Marcel Pagnol is my husband's favorite writer and many years ago, he showed me the films based on these two books. I enjoyed them and was glad to recently find the two stories in English. They are beautifully and lovingly written with charm and humor as he reminisced of his childhood in Provence. I recommend it to lovers of nature, family and good books. Marcel Pagnol is my husband's favorite writer and many years ago, he showed me the films based on these two books. I enjoyed them and was glad to recently find the two stories in English. They are beautifully and lovingly written with charm and humor as he reminisced of his childhood in Provence. I recommend it to lovers of nature, family and good books.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lindadonovan

    This is the story of several years of the author's childhood in France, in the country near Marseilles before World War 1. I liked it very much; it shows the author's love for his family, friends and the countryside in which he lived. I'm sure it's long gone, but it was wonderful to read about. This is the story of several years of the author's childhood in France, in the country near Marseilles before World War 1. I liked it very much; it shows the author's love for his family, friends and the countryside in which he lived. I'm sure it's long gone, but it was wonderful to read about.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Carla

    What a wonderful, lyrical memoir of childhood this is. So many beautiful scenes, no sentimentality or faux humor— Pagnol does not turn his schoolteacher father and his young mother into cartoons, or mock his happy childhood — in the wild forests of Provence. Oh, and the ending is a knockout.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    Poignant story of Marcel Pagnol's mostly idyllic childhood. Poignant story of Marcel Pagnol's mostly idyllic childhood.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Timons Esaias

    This is yet another volume that was brought to my attention by Noel Perrin's A Reader's Delight. As usual, it is with gratitude that I remember how this came to be on my unread shelf. A toast to Mr. Perrin. Marcel Pagnol was a French director of stage and film, a playwright, and -- as these two books in one volume attest -- novel/memoirist. These are set in Provence, before the First World War, and are charming, charming, charming stories of his schoolteacher father, his brother and sister and mo This is yet another volume that was brought to my attention by Noel Perrin's A Reader's Delight. As usual, it is with gratitude that I remember how this came to be on my unread shelf. A toast to Mr. Perrin. Marcel Pagnol was a French director of stage and film, a playwright, and -- as these two books in one volume attest -- novel/memoirist. These are set in Provence, before the First World War, and are charming, charming, charming stories of his schoolteacher father, his brother and sister and mother, and other family and friends. They take a cottage in the hills for hunting and holiday, and many of the chapters are devoted to the adventures they had from there. The chief concern of My Father's Glory is Marcel's concern that his father -- a novice -- not be shamed in hunting by Marcel's uncle, who is more experienced. The chief concern of the second volume is that the family is taking shortcuts along the canal, using a key unofficially given them by a canal official, and the landowners might make a fuss, including turning dogs loose, or even the police. Fear, friendship, honor and justice are the running topics. Amusing, touching, and pleasant. I understand that the third and unfinished fourth volumes may not be in print in English. If so, I'll be ordering them in the French.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Peggy

    By Marcel Pagnol. Set early in the 20th century in rural Provence. The books are nostalgic, loving, funny...a paean to times gone by...a boy's idyllic days in a rustic cottage in the mountains above Marseilles. You can smell the dry wild thyme and lavender and sage as he runs with his brother through the countryside...you can taste his mother's rabbit stew and feel her kiss goodnight...you can hear his schoolteacher father's attempts to turn hunting into a math lesson. Told in the child's voice but By Marcel Pagnol. Set early in the 20th century in rural Provence. The books are nostalgic, loving, funny...a paean to times gone by...a boy's idyllic days in a rustic cottage in the mountains above Marseilles. You can smell the dry wild thyme and lavender and sage as he runs with his brother through the countryside...you can taste his mother's rabbit stew and feel her kiss goodnight...you can hear his schoolteacher father's attempts to turn hunting into a math lesson. Told in the child's voice but with the adult's wisdom and awareness and fond backward-looking appreciation, these 2 companion books are a lesson on how a childhood memoir should be written, IMO. I borrowed the book from the library, but I'll prob buy it to read again and again. Marvelously, they have been made into movies, which are just as charming as the books.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Pauline Wharton

    Wonderful evocative account of the author's childhood in the south of France. I found the end very moving. Wonderful evocative account of the author's childhood in the south of France. I found the end very moving.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    A delightful memoir of a unique childhood, tribute to the precious memories of his parents and family.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Vincent Desjardins

    I started reading this book after watching (for the second time) the wonderful French film adaptations. Because the movies were so faithful to the book, and the story was so fresh in my mind, I put the book down and didn’t pick it up again for over a year. When I did finally start reading it again, I finished it in a few days. Each night I looked forward to returning to the hill country of southern France and vicariously roaming the rocky hills with young Marcel. The book is beautifully written, I started reading this book after watching (for the second time) the wonderful French film adaptations. Because the movies were so faithful to the book, and the story was so fresh in my mind, I put the book down and didn’t pick it up again for over a year. When I did finally start reading it again, I finished it in a few days. Each night I looked forward to returning to the hill country of southern France and vicariously roaming the rocky hills with young Marcel. The book is beautifully written, sensual, evocative and very funny. Pagnol beautifully brings to life the feelings of a child in summer, free from the worries of school, rejoicing in the freedoms of vacation. He also captures the flip side of this idyllic feeling - the doomed feelings of summer coming to an end as the dread specter of going back to school begins to hover over your shoulder. Being a vegetarian, the only thing I didn’t like about the book were the hunting scenes and the frequent talk of catching small birds in snares. I do realize though that one must look at these things in their context. Marcel’s family was living in the hill country in the early nineteen hundreds with little access to any kind of markets. What they caught, they always ate. The final two chapters of the book, providing a sort of epilogue to the story, are bittersweet and sad. Without spoiling anything, I think it’s safe to say, you might want to have a handkerchief ready. “Such is the life of man. A few joys, quickly obliterated by unforgettable sorrows. There is no need to tell the children so.” In these closing sentences to the penultimate chapter, Marcel sums up what he has learned as an adult and how important it is to let children savor their childhoods and protect them from the harsh realities that will fill their lives all too soon. By the way, if you get a chance, watch the two movies “My Father’s Glory,” and “My Mother’s Castle,” that are based on this book. They are wonderfully faithful adaptations and really bring the time period and the setting to life.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    I'm not sure if it was the book or the DVDs that were highly recommended to me, early on in my library career but now that I have finally savoured both I understand the charm. They capture a time and a lifestyle long gone for most and even some of the characters in the story, mention the joys of new household conveniences, including gas and plumbing. We forget how people actually went hunting for food they ate and in rural France that includes a lot of game cooked with herbs that grew wild. For I'm not sure if it was the book or the DVDs that were highly recommended to me, early on in my library career but now that I have finally savoured both I understand the charm. They capture a time and a lifestyle long gone for most and even some of the characters in the story, mention the joys of new household conveniences, including gas and plumbing. We forget how people actually went hunting for food they ate and in rural France that includes a lot of game cooked with herbs that grew wild. For this city raised boy every book he has ever read about the great outdoors is now relived on his own boys only adventure. You can't help but be spell bound as he captures the real life characters that surround him. His honesty opens a window to a boys thoughts and feelings and as other reviewers have stated he is not always appealing but I found most of his actions understandable or justified. A lot of time is spent talking about the birds or game they spend their summer days viewing or hunting which displays an incredible memory for detail and although of not much interest to the general reader raises it above the normal nature based story. After being immersed in this snapshot of another time and place I felt compelled to learn more about the author and his other writings which is always a good sign of a well written book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    This book might be one of the first collections of autobiographic short stories that I have ever read and I am really glad I did. The world seen through eyes of Marcel Pagnol is brilliantly cute, intriguing and fascinating. I have never experienced most of the things that Pagnol talks about in his book mainly because I was born into an entirely different time and place, which makes my past life incomparable to the childhood of the author. But that only makes the book more interesting and catchy. This book might be one of the first collections of autobiographic short stories that I have ever read and I am really glad I did. The world seen through eyes of Marcel Pagnol is brilliantly cute, intriguing and fascinating. I have never experienced most of the things that Pagnol talks about in his book mainly because I was born into an entirely different time and place, which makes my past life incomparable to the childhood of the author. But that only makes the book more interesting and catchy. I got really sad when I found out that the last chapters weren't published by the author himself because of his death, but it is true that the part felt a bit out of place. Generally, though, the book is a piece of fine writing that is not for everyone. I believe men who experienced something at least a bit similar to Pagnol would enjoy the book much more than anyone else because of nostalgia that is tied to the book incredibly strongly. The odour of nostalgia is present at every page and that is what makes the book so readable and fun. This book is only to be recommended, because it just cannot let one down. So go for it. I already miss it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    Just as it did at a cinema 25 years ago (in the film by Yves Robert) the conclusion to these memoirs brought tears to my eyes. The powerful, undeniably moving final chapters by Marcel Pagnol, writing as an old man - not looking back not at his glittering career in French cinema, but on the "unforgettable sorrows" of his life - strike to the core. This two book memoir is, for the most part, drenched in the Provençal sunshine and vivid adventures of youth. Based on the period before World War One Just as it did at a cinema 25 years ago (in the film by Yves Robert) the conclusion to these memoirs brought tears to my eyes. The powerful, undeniably moving final chapters by Marcel Pagnol, writing as an old man - not looking back not at his glittering career in French cinema, but on the "unforgettable sorrows" of his life - strike to the core. This two book memoir is, for the most part, drenched in the Provençal sunshine and vivid adventures of youth. Based on the period before World War One when Pagnol was a child, the trials and tribulations of his family escaping Marseilles for rural escapades is amusing, evocative and full of resonance. The writing is a delight, full of timeless observations and the wide-eyed fragility of youth that will strike a chord with most readers. Pagnol truly transports us to a world long gone - before the horrors of world wars and the globalisation of all things - but also back to our own half-forgotten childhood memories.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Isabel

    A beautiful book, written late in the author's life - a memory of childhood. Although his was in Provence and mine was in Canada, I could relate to his evocative descriptions of being a 'free range' child, enjoying the outdoors and the countryside from early morning til day's end. Pagnol also wrote Manon of the Spring and Jean de Florette, and made them into memorable movies. It's impossible not to like this book - it takes you back to a simpler time, when summers weren't full of 'scheduled' eve A beautiful book, written late in the author's life - a memory of childhood. Although his was in Provence and mine was in Canada, I could relate to his evocative descriptions of being a 'free range' child, enjoying the outdoors and the countryside from early morning til day's end. Pagnol also wrote Manon of the Spring and Jean de Florette, and made them into memorable movies. It's impossible not to like this book - it takes you back to a simpler time, when summers weren't full of 'scheduled' events and programmes. When a packed lunch, a forest or field, a good friend and an imagination were all you needed to entertain yourself.

  28. 4 out of 5

    CarAuz1992

    Marcel Pagnol is one of France's great XXth century writers and playwrights. I already knew the Trilogie Marseillaise and was really captivated by the atmosphere of early XXth century Provence. La Gloire de mon Père is definitely a book for all ages, as it will bring out different emotions and thoughts depending on at what age you are reading it. For me, it undoubtedly brought back a great feeling of nostalgia, both for lost childhood and a time gone by when time seemed to move slower. Pagnol's Marcel Pagnol is one of France's great XXth century writers and playwrights. I already knew the Trilogie Marseillaise and was really captivated by the atmosphere of early XXth century Provence. La Gloire de mon Père is definitely a book for all ages, as it will bring out different emotions and thoughts depending on at what age you are reading it. For me, it undoubtedly brought back a great feeling of nostalgia, both for lost childhood and a time gone by when time seemed to move slower. Pagnol's outlook on life through his eyes as a child is charming and innocent. Now, all I really want is to read Le Château de ma Mère !

  29. 5 out of 5

    Elissa

    These are the charming childhood memories of french director Marcel Pagnol, taking place just after the turn of the 20th century in Marseilles. He recalls his good-humored family, his childhood passions, and his holidays spent in Provence, mostly running free in the hills with his best friend, Lili. It is an affectionate look back at his happy youth, that period when you are made perfectly happy by small things and live each day moment by moment. You can almost feel the sun and smell the lavenda These are the charming childhood memories of french director Marcel Pagnol, taking place just after the turn of the 20th century in Marseilles. He recalls his good-humored family, his childhood passions, and his holidays spent in Provence, mostly running free in the hills with his best friend, Lili. It is an affectionate look back at his happy youth, that period when you are made perfectly happy by small things and live each day moment by moment. You can almost feel the sun and smell the lavendar.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Brockmole

    What a charming book! This volume contains two of Marcel Pagnol's memoirs of his idyllic childhood in France, from school in Marseilles to summers spent in the Provencal countryside. You hear the cicadas, smell the wild thyme, taste the cheese and wine and sausage. The narration is captivating and sounds so much like a nine-year-old boy. The cover shows the family lounging by a picnic blanket spread with bread and wine and fruit. That describes the book exactly -- warm, unhurried, and delightful What a charming book! This volume contains two of Marcel Pagnol's memoirs of his idyllic childhood in France, from school in Marseilles to summers spent in the Provencal countryside. You hear the cicadas, smell the wild thyme, taste the cheese and wine and sausage. The narration is captivating and sounds so much like a nine-year-old boy. The cover shows the family lounging by a picnic blanket spread with bread and wine and fruit. That describes the book exactly -- warm, unhurried, and delightfully French.

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