Jean Giono (1895-1970) was born and lived most of his life
in the town of Manosque, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. Largely
self-educated, he started working as a bank clerk at the age of
sixteen and reported for military service when World War I broke
out. He fought in the battle of Verdun and was one of the few
members of his company to survive. After the war, he returned to
his job and family in Manosque and became a vocal, lifelong
pacifist. After the success of Hill, which won the Prix
Brentano, he left the bank and began to publish prolifically.
During World War II Giono's outspoken pacifism led some to accuse
him unjustly of collaboration with the Nazis; after France's
liberation in 1944, he was imprisoned and held without charges.
Despite being blacklisted after his release, Giono continued
writing and was elected to the Academie Goncourt in 1954.
Paul Eprile is a longtime publisher (Between the Lines, Toronto), as well as a poet and translator. He is currently at work on the translation of Jean Giono's novel Melville (forthcoming from NYRB) and lives on the Niagara Escarpment in Ontario, Canada.
David Abram is the director of the Alliance for Wild Ethics. A cultural ecologist, philosopher, and performance artist, he is the award-winning author of Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology and The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World. He teaches and lectures around the world and lives with his family in the foothills of the southern Rockies.
"Though this novel is nearly ninety years old, its sharp focus and
uncompromising storytelling leave it feeling hauntingly timeless-a
story of primal conflicts erupting into seemingly pastoral
"In Hill [Giono] . . . decided to show the peasants of his region of Provence in all their particularity-and also to show the beauty and terror of nature in its raw state, stripped of its classical allusions."
-Edmund White, The New York Review of Books
"Giono's voice is the voice of the realist; his accents are the accents of simplicity, power and a passionate feeling for a land and a people that he must love as well as understand."
-The New York Times