Julien Gracq (the pseudonym of Louis Poirier) was born in 1910 in Saint-le-Vieil. His three other novels have appeared in English as A Dark Stranger, The Castle of Argol, and Balcony in the Forest.
The ``opposing shore'' is uncivilized Farghestan, which faces decadent Orsenna across the desolate and marshy Bay of Syrtes. Gracq's most famous novel, published in France in 1951, posits a somnolent war of three centuries' duration between the two Mediterranean states. At long last a restless Orsennian opens ``one of those doors you pass through in dreams'' to provoke his hereditary enemies to action. By novel's end the barbarians are at the gate. Gracq's is a 20th-century vision of decay expressed in the lapidary style of an earlier age, a masterpiece of atmosphere and indirection. Highly recommended for collections of modern literature. Grove Koger, Boise P.L., Id.
Review (no quote) - 06/28/18 * New York Review of Books *