The Lost Estate is Robin Buss’s translation of Henri Alain-Fournier’s poignant study of lost love, Le Grand Meaulnes.
‘I read it for the first time when I was seventeen and loved every page. I find its depiction of a golden time and place just as poignant now as I did then’ Nick Hornby
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’s 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.
If you liked Le Grand Meaulnes, you might enjoy Gustave Flaubert’s Sentimental Education, also available in Penguin Classics.