Summoned from his medical practice in China by a bevy of anxious aunts, Alain Roig returns to his Catalan hometown to discover he has been nominated by family members with vested interests in the ancestral property to prevent an impending marriage between his cold, ascetic cousin Xavier and Madeleine, a quiet, introspective village girl of unusual beauty. As Alain seeks to understand his cousin's complex motivations for wooing the unhappy girl, he is slowly drawn into Xavier's dark crisis of faith, the well-worn pattern of the sleepy Catalan days and the tight circle of village gossip that surrounds Madeleine.
Throughout, Patrick O'Brian's slow, seductive narrative lures the reader into the landscapes, rhythms and passions of Catalonia, while his subtle, insightful characterisation paints a psychological portrait of a unique way of life and two very different men – one generous and impulsive, the other desperate to revive in his soul the dying flames of affection which he senses could be his salvation.
- Publication Date:
- 26 / 07 / 2006
- 130 x 197mm