Dr. Joe’s Choice #1

The Young Man from SavoyHere’s a sterling book recommendation for you from Malvern’s own curmudgeon-in-chief, Dr. Joe:

Fans of Robert Walser have a tantalizing treat in store for them in C-F Ramuz’s short novel The Young Man From Savoy. Flux, madness, suicide, murder: all in a scenic Swiss town on the shore of Lake Geneva. The world seems so ordinary. There is progress, love, youth, old age, but Joseph has been to the circus. Once he has visited Indonesia and the North Pole within a circus tent, and seen the aerialist Miss Anabella, his world will never be the same.

Ramuz, most famous for the libretto of Igor Stravinsky’s “Histoire du soldat,” takes readers into the minds of mountains, clouds, dogs, horses, and humans in a tale that centers upon a troubled young Joseph. Joseph wants to experience the permanence in things, but his is a world of flux with ever changing light and shadow.

      Must we love what is, the way it is? Or instead, should we love a thing because it isn’t, because of its greater beauty? Or is there a place even, where in the end what is and what isn’t turn out to be in agreement? 
      He’s the young man from Savoy: he is a strange young man.

Meticulously translated from the French by Blake Robinson, The Young Man From Savoy is a calm stroll through madness visited upon us all by an ideology of progress.