A Dark Stranger

Julien Gracq
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Translated by Christopher Moncrieff


256 pp

Published 12/09/2013

ISBN 9781908968357

A surreal, nouveau-Gothic story of Death in a 1920s seaside hotel

From the moment he arrives at an elegant seaside hotel with his lover, Allan unsettles and obsesses the other guests. Elusive, equivocal, beautiful, he lives, gambles, swims and dances with a strange fierceness that they find intoxicating. Soon he even haunts their dreams.

One by one, each guest is fatally drawn to Allan. And, as the hazy August heat fades and summer comes to an end, they gravitate towards self-destruction.

Rich, lushly poetic, A Dark Stranger is a dreamlike portrayal of lives lived on the edge of the abyss.

"Gracq is unique. His texts shine in the darkness of literature... Every page is a discovery and we are grateful for their beauty, their intelligence and their exoticism." Libération

Julien Gracq (1910-2007) taught history and geography in various lycées. A close friend of André Breton, his work was inspired by German Romanticism, and combines startling imagery with a rich, precise metre.

Staunchly avoiding the French literary scene-he refused the Prix Goncourt in 1951-he is one of the few authors to have been published in the Bibliothèque de la Pléiade during his lifetime. He died in 2007 aged 97.

His novels Dark Stranger and Château d'Argol are available from Pushkin Press.


Château d’Argol