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Pure (Anglais) Relié – 9 juin 2011

3.8 étoiles sur 5 4 commentaires client

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

His recreation of pre-Revolutionary Paris is extraordinarily vivid and imaginative, and his story is so gripping that you'll put your life on hold to finish it (The Times)

Enthralling ... superbly researched, brilliantly narrated and movingly resolved (Observer)

Exquisite inside and out, PURE is a near-faultless thing (Sunday Telegraph)

It draws you in with hallucinatory power (Daily Mail)

Superb (Literary Review)

Dazzling (Guardian)

Présentation de l'éditeur


A year of bones, of grave-dirt, relentless work. Of mummified corpses and chanting priests.

A year of rape, suicide, sudden death. Of friendship too. Of desire. Of love...

A year unlike any other he has lived.

Deep in the heart of Paris, its oldest cemetery is, by 1785, overflowing, tainting the very breath of those who live nearby. Into their midst comes Jean-Baptiste Baratte, a young, provincial engineer charged by the king with demolishing it.

At first Baratte sees this as a chance to clear the burden of history, a fitting task for a modern man of reason. But before long, he begins to suspect that the destruction of the cemetery might be a prelude to his own.

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3.8 étoiles sur 5
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Format: Format Kindle
Very enjoyable. A nice story woven into a fascinating corner of Paris history - the emptying of a huge cemetery into what became Les Catacombs.
Is not quite as good as bringing out the nitty gritty, the 'puyngent smells' etc as the press reviews and jacket blurb would have you believe.
But a good novel that keeps you turning the pages and wishing for more.
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I would never have expected such an unusual storyline. I found it to be a fascinating new avenue. It cannot be put into an existing cubby-hole of historical novel or dectective as it is neither. A stunning read with interesting twists along the way. Do not expect any major happenings because they do not happen, only small direction changes through out the book as we experience in our own lives.
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Fascinating account of (just) pre-revolutionary France; it would be 5-star except I don't think the ending was quite up to the rest of the book .
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Rien à dire sur la qualité du produit. Livraison rapide.
Malheureusement j'ai pas trop aimé le livre. Traîne trop et sans fin de qualité.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9371a3b4) étoiles sur 5 81 commentaires
50 internautes sur 51 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9373b7b0) étoiles sur 5 City of Death 1 juin 2011
Par Keris Nine - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
On the surface, Pure seems like a straightforward historical fiction. Set in Paris in the year 1785, in the years just preceding the French Revolution, there is however evidently something more significant going on beneath the surface.

Getting beneath the surface is exactly what Jean-Baptiste Baratte, an engineer from Normandy hoping to make his fame and fortune in Paris, has been tasked to do for his first commission for the government, excavating the vast pits of the cemetery of les Innocents near les Halles market in the centre of the city, and taking down the church along with it. Bodies have been piled into the cemetery for centuries, and the king is concerned about the growing problem of filth and contamination that is emanating from one of the foulest areas in the city. It's a huge and deeply unpleasant task, but it's a necessary purification that needs to be carried out for the good of the city and the working population of the area. That's pretty much a subject of historical record, the bones excavated eventually ending up in the famous catacombs of Paris, and Andrew Miller's fictionalisation of the story follows the progress of the engineer and the relationships he develops with the workers he has employed, the family he boards with and the people he meets in the neighbourhood.

Although there is no shortage of incident in the story, it all arises fairly naturally out of the project to such an extent that it's easy to underestimate the skill with which the author depicts the simmering undercurrent of dissent and revolution that is simmering among the people and looking for an outlet. Even though in his idealistic days Baratte and his colleague would imagine their own utopia, the engineer doesn't realise just how important his purification of les Innocents is in bringing with it the idea of change, making him an unwilling and unwitting figurehead for the revolutionary slogans that are beginning to appear on the walls of the city. None of this is overstated, but it's clear by the end that the author has sown the seeds of the coming revolution of "purification" that will result in more piles of bones, and done so in greater detail and with greater subtlety than you could imagine possible from such a simple story.
28 internautes sur 30 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9373b804) étoiles sur 5 Clearing the ground for a new age 7 février 2012
Par Ralph Blumenau - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle
In 1780 the huge ancient cemetery next to the Church of Les Innocents in Paris (today it is the area of Les Halles) was so full that the authorities said there were to be no more burials. The stench of decay was so pervasive that in 1786 the French government ordered the exhumation of the cemetery - the bones to be reburied in what is now known as the Catacombs near Montparnasse, and was then known as the quarry at the Porte d'Enfer. The church, the tombs in the crypts and the charnel house were also to be demolished. The area was then to be turned into a market place.

These are the historical facts underlying this novel, and Andrew Miller is steeped in the history of that time just before the French Revolution, when the ideas of the Enlightenment were challenging traditions. The clearing of the old cemetery becomes a symbol for the mood of disposing of the past. Jean-Baptiste Baratte, the young engineer who is put in charge of the work, is one of the "moderns"; so is his friend Lecoeur, who comes to do the work at the head of a team of thirty Flemings from the mines at Valenciennes where Baratte had himself once worked and with whom he had at that time spent many hours imagining an Enlightened utopia they called Valenciana. Symbolic, too, is the resistance (in one instance taking a very violent form) they encounter: many of the local have got used to the stench of decay and are opposed to the removal of familiar landmarks; others find this work of "purification" sacrilegious (though Armand de Saint-Méard, the organist of the barely visited church and another "modern", welcomes the change in the full knowledge that he will lose his position - anticipating those clergy who would take part in the early stages of the French Revolution). Anti-royalist and anti-clerical graffiti which are daubed on walls in the neighbourhood drive the context home.

If this seems a rather schematic plan for the book, it is full of people and incidents that flesh it out. Some of the incidents seem to me rather tangential, including Barette's curious love-affaire. The life of 18th century Paris and of 18th century Normandy (where Barette comes from), the state of the roads, the dependence on candle light, the clothes "of the future" which the "moderns" liked to wear, the medical theories of the time (propounded by none other than Dr Guillotin) - all this is brought out vividly. Miller is also throughly familiar with the geography of old Paris - it would have been nice to have had a map on which we could have followed the many streets to which he refers but which no longer exist.

The dialogue is often banal; and I don't feel that this a very organic book. Many actions, including two major acts of violence, do not seem to me to be to arise naturally out of the story - I wondered whether they were based on historical research, which might account for their inclusion. The book engaged my interest less and less towards the end, though there is a set-piece climax in the last few pages.
17 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9373bc3c) étoiles sur 5 "Destroying the Cemetery of the Innocents is to sweep away in fact, not in rhetoric, the poisonous influence of the past." 1 juin 2012
Par Mary Whipple - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
(4.5 stars) In pristine sentences and uncompromising descriptions, used with great irony, Andrew Miller tells of a young engineer from rural France in 1785 whose job is to empty the overflowing cemetery at the Church of the Innocents in central Paris and rebury all the bones in the catacombs, for sanitary reasons. Set in 1785, just four years before the French Revolution, Miller's main character, Jean-Baptiste Baratte, supervises the emptying of over twenty burial pits located within a small, enclosed area. The work is "both delicate and gross," as the entire neighborhood around the cemetery is putrid after the cemetery's long use (and, more recently, the interment of fifty thousand people in less than a month in mass graves during a plague). The stench permeates everything - buildings, food, and ultimately people, and Baratte has only one year to make it "pure."

Despite the unusual and unsavory subject matter, Miller recreates the human side of the story - to make the reader empathize with Baratte, to see how important the job is to him, to show how he longs for acceptance - and even a job as unsavory this one quickly involves the reader in the story and its historical setting. Details about Paris in this pre-revolutionary time stick in the reader's memory: an elephant, somewhere in Versailles, that exists on Burgundy wine; a revolutionary group devoted to the future, that plasters warnings about the church and aristocracy on walls and buildings; the nearly hopeless lives of the miners Baratte recruits to work on this horrific job; and later, their differences in outlook from the masons he hires for additional on-site work.

Throughout the novel, Miller's descriptive details are unforgettable and often symbolic: a priest described as "a big wingless bat in the dusk"; Parisian theatre-goers "fighting their way through the doors like scummed water draining out of a sink"; a man with eyes "like two black nails hammered into a skull; and an crazed old man "nude as a worm," who begins to howl. The coming revolution is foreshadowed through the eyes of Baratte, whose own new suit of clothes, is not completely comfortable since it smacks of another class. The role of Heloise, a prostitute with a good heart and the intellect of a modern woman, shows how indifferent the court is to the resilience and resourcefulness of, not only women, but of the talented and thwarted men of the country. The characters' attitudes toward life, death, God, and the afterlife echo throughout the novel as bodies are disinterred and cleaned for reburial in the catacombs.

Ultimately, Miller succeeds in making this unlikely subject and its unusual characters both engaging and thought-provoking, requiring the reader to think beyond the limitations of most stories which are set so deep in the past. Baratte himself learns during his year, and he reflects the increasing awareness of a growing segment of the population that the life of the court of Versailles has reached the end of the line. When Baratte finishes his final report for the minister, his return to Versailles is filled with striking parallels and contrasts to the details of his arrival. Miller never overplays his conclusion, however, respecting the reader's ability to fill in some of the blanks that make this novel so memorable. An unusual and beautifully written novel which shines new light on some of the elements which can empower the oppressed and lead to revolution. Mary Whipple

7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x93a87024) étoiles sur 5 Pure delight 15 août 2011
Par Hande Z - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
"Pure" is a is a simple, straightforward story about a young engineer Jean Baptiste assigned by the minister to destroy and remove a cemetery and the church that was on its grounds because it was believed that the cemetery, long closed, had fouled the air and the breath of the people nearby. It was feared that it might soon affect all of Paris and the King and his ministers too. The story spanned just about a year and Andrew Miller captivates with an enchanting account of the efforts of Jean Baptiste in his task, and in the process, the various people he met, including some interesting women, Heloise, his love, Jeanne, the daughter of the sexton of the desolate church on the cemetery, Ziguette, the mysterious daughter of Jean Baptiste's landlord. The most fascinating person was perhaps Armand, the organist of the church who took the fate of the church and the organ in it with stoicism but not without sentimentality. Then there are the miners and their foreman Lecoeur, the men who committed the menial work in the destruction of the cemetery, and how the process affected them.

The story flows easily and and engages the reader with a spell that grabs him and hold him to the book, like the spell that enveloped the cemetery and the eerie corpses they buried there. How do people fall under spells, the nature of which is ineffable and the only clue identifying the involvement of the mysterious if not supernatural, is gleaned only from the inapproppriate conduct of the victim? It is this feeling that will affect the reader through the entire book, and the last breath from him upon reaching the end of the book will be tinged with pure relief.
13 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x93a87108) étoiles sur 5 The Miller's Tale 10 juin 2011
Par Ryan Williams - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
I read and loved Miller's debut Ingenious Pain - surely one of the best British novels of the 1990s - and enjoyed his next two, Casanova and Oxygen. After that I moved on to other authors. Picking this one up, his latest, is like re-establishing a priceless friendship.

At first, it looks like a return: going back to 'doing history' (specifically Paris, 1785). Miller does his research as well as the next person, but it's the sensuous detail, the stuff that illuminates day-to-day living, that impresses and tells, as with all the best historical novels I know of - Norminton's Ship of Fools, Tremain's Restoration, Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White. Miller's phrases are as polished as ever, too. I could go on quoting them, so I'm going to flip my copy open and stab out a sentence at random: after a heavy downpour, a preaching cross-fire has been reduced to 'a heap of smouldering black beams, like the doused wreck of a small cottage'.

I'm going to have to get hold of his other two novels, and soon.
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