"The Lost Estate" is Robin Buss' translation of Henri Alain-Fournier's poignant study of lost love, Le Grand Meaulnes. This "Penguin Classics" edition also contains an introduction by Adam Gopnik. When Meaulnes first arrives at the local school in Sologne, everyone is captivated by his good looks, daring and charisma.
But when Meaulnes disappears for several days, and returns with tales of a strange party at a mysterious house - and his love for the beautiful girl hidden within it, Yvonne de Galais - his life has been changed forever. In his restless search for his Lost Estate and the happiness he found there, Meaulnes, observed by his loyal friend Francois, may risk losing everything he ever had. Poised between youthful admiration and adult resignation, Alain-Fournier's compelling narrator carries the reader through this evocative and unbearably poignant portrayal of desperate friendship and vanished adolescence.
Robin Buss' translation of Le Grand Meaulnes sensitively and accurately renders Alain-Fournier's poetically charged, expressive and deceptively simple style. In his introduction, New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik discusses the life of Alain-Fournier, who was killed in the First World War after writing this, his only novel. Henri Alban-Fournier (1886-1914), better known by the pseudonym Alain-Fournier, was born in La Chapelle d'Angillon, the son of a country school-master.
He was educated at Brest and Paris, where he met the original Yvonne, who left a lasting impression on his life and work. Le Grand Meaulnes was published in 1912. Alan-Fournier joined the army as a Lieutenant in August 1914, and was killed in action on the Meuse less than a month later.
Les Miracles, a volume of poems and essays, appeared posthumously in 1924. If you liked Le Grand Meaulnes, you might enjoy Gustave Flaubert's Sentimental Education, also available in "Penguin Classics". "I read it for the first time when I was seventeen and loved every page.