A Dark Stranger (vintage UK hardcover)

by: Julien Gracq

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A Dark Stranger (vintage UK hardcover) / Translated by W. J. Strachan / Jacket design by Don Smith / 2nd impression of a 1950 Peter Owen edition (oddly, the title page says "Lindsay Drummond: London") -- the price printed on the dustjacket alerts me that this was made in the 50s and is not the 80s reprint. The book is in excellent condition, with no marks inside. There is light wear to the dustjacket, which is now protected in mylar / not price-clipped

"A Dark Stranger, Julien Gracq’s second novel, is an unsettling allegory of the terrible fascination history exerts upon individuals caught up in its inexorable and merciless unfolding. Set amid the interwar opulence of a Breton seaside resort, the novel focuses (as always with Gracq, it’s a soft focus) on Allan Murchison, the dark stranger of the title, who arrives at the Hôtel les Vagues accompanied by his ethereal lover Dolores, bearing the weight of a "great resolution." Mirroring the catastrophe Gracq was witnessing while writing the book—he worked on it while imprisoned in a German POW camp in 1944—the horrific nature of this resolution grows clear only gradually to a small coterie of tourists who find themselves drawn into Murchison’s magnetic sphere of influence. The dark stranger is parts André Breton, Kleist, Meursault, and Faust; in other words: a pinnacle of a certain mode of Europeanness [...] A Dark Stranger is, in its singular way, as thrilling and breathless a story as the best page-turner."--Stephen Sparks

Interesting blurbs on the old dustjacket:

"Like Salvador Dali's Hidden Faces, in the tradition of the roman noir."--TLS

"The publishers point to the affinities with Poe and Proust. These are ambitious names, but their introduction is not fortuitous. A strange tale of violence."--Irish Times