The Life of Elves

The Life of Elves

Book - 2016
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Two girls from France and Italy who possess uncanny respective abilities to communicate with nature and perform music at a preternatural level come into contact with magical and malevolent forces before meeting each other in world-changing ways.
"An inspiring literary fantasy about two gifted girls from the bestselling author of The Elegance of the Hedgehog, The Life of Elves sings of the human spirit and conveys a message of hope and faith. Muriel Barbery's new novel is the first of two books about Maria and Clara, unforgettable heroines of a world facing annihilation. Animated by a large cast of endearing characters, it is a timeless story about the forces of good and evil and a moving meditation on the power of nature, music, art, storytelling, and love. When the harmony between living beings turns to discord, the seasons will be loosed from their moorings and the natural world thrown into disarray; human beings--no longer capable of feeling either empathy or enchantment--will abandon themselves to hate, violence, and war. An epic battle between forces that wish to reestablish harmony in the world and those that wish to shatter it definitively is being waged on earth and in the mysterious land of mist, where the elves dwell. A ragtag army of rural peasants gathers in readiness for the fight--their weapons, an age-old kinship with the land and an affinity for magic. But humankind cannot hope to win this battle alone. Victory depends on help from the inhabitants of a world that is hidden from human sight. Hope rests with Maria and Clara, two girls whose prodigious artistic talents and deep connections with nature make communion with the numinous realm possible." -- Publisher's description
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Europa Editions, 2016.
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9781609453152
Characteristics: 258 pages ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Anderson, Alison - Translator


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Apr 06, 2017

This is one of the most beautifully written, thoughtful, and moving books I have every read on the subject of the well-being of Earth and all its denizens. There is a strong belief running throughout the book that humans need to stay connected to Earth: our ability to survive, to experience grace, contemplation, health and healing and especially, love depends upon it (p 160). As reader/commenter julieubrown notes, reading this in small doses may help the reader absorb the meaning and feel the beauty in the story. I also checked about a sequel but the publisher’s representative said in January that it is still not close to publication.

Sep 12, 2016

My Goodreads review:

Aug 18, 2016

Such lovely writing, yet I couldn't possibly tell you what this book was about. An allegory of terrorism and ecological destruction perhaps?

Read this book anyway. Read it line by gorgeous line. At first, I read a paragraph or two at a time at bedtime, a lovely way to fall asleep. Then, I felt the need to finish when I had only twenty pages to go and was so much less satisfied.

There's a sequel coming. I plan to read it a paragraph at a time to find the lyrical patterns in single lines.

While beautifully written, the magical environment and mystical characters were not appealing and I could not get past page 60. It felt like reading a prolonged parable, good vs evil with little insight into characters' motivation and humanity.

Mar 08, 2016

A very deep story. Hard to follow the story. In fact, I still did not understand the entire story at the end.


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