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The Lost Estate (Le Grand Meaulnes) - Henri Alain-Fournier

In a boring afternoon of one of these days of June, I chose Le Grand Meaulnes immediately in the local library right after the librarian's alarm that they were closing. It was French and I thought I had a glance on a review before. By reading a few pages of it, I realized that it was a young adult story of two boys François and his best friend Meaulnes who lived in a lower-class school in a village. Narrating in a first person, I thought despite its title there was no trace of Meaulnes himself. I thought "No, I don't feel like reading this", I even wanted to interrupt. But because I did not have any other fiction unread in my bookshelves I continued reading. Well...is it a Tim Burton transcription? Mysterious abandoned house in the middle of a jungle… kids…girls dancing...a mysterious party. I kept reading and then again came back to the little preface and read it carefully to find out what kind of French classic it was:

This little mysterious masterpiece with its astounding simplicity and purity, and its deep sensitivity that is used for showing the feelings and emotions of a little mysterious world full of hope and sadness, has influenced strongly many works after itself.

It is going to be a love story? Although the blurb says anotherThe catcher in the rye but I thought maybe The great Gatsbytoo, unless it is not historical at all. In the middle of the book I thought that it was going to find its shape and kind of unputdownable because everything seemed to be finished and still half of the book remained. Well, he finds a mysterious house and a mysterious girl. Then all his life he searches for that house and girl. He becomes a wanderer. The magic and mysteriousness of that house and atmosphere unconsciously form his feelings. He searches maybe not to find the girl but to find that feeling again.

By finishing the book I had this feeling that it had that message of Gustave Flaubert in Sentimental Education. By depicting that this book declares the end of romanticism and its possible natural consequences, the protagonist, the great Meaulnes is the symbol of a transition.

It is said that a poll of French readers some years ago placed this book sixth of all 20th-century books, just behind Proust and Camus and also it has been twice filmed.