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The War of the Earth and the Men (La Guerre de la terre et des hommes)

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Original Language: French | 400 pp. | January 2018

2 Seas Represents: World Excl French

English sample available

EPIC LITERARY FICTION (first volume in a five-book series)

Read Bacqué! — Alexis Lacroix, L’Express

It is a myth, of which [Bacqué] has laid the foundation, which comes out of the earth right before our eyes. A myth of history. A myth unlike any contemporary author has had the nerve to forge for a long time. A myth of myths. […] For a long time, few books have surprised me, worn me out, questioned me and, finally, made me enthusiastic like The War of the Earth and the Men. […] An unforgettable experience. — Bernard-Henri Lévy

I believe that The War of the Earth and the Men is a book that will have its place not only in the history of literature, but in history. Period. — Jean-Claude Fasquelle

I deeply love this book. Fantasy aligning with reality plunges us into the heart of this man and his dialogue, among others. It’s an incredible, interior voyage of the eternal question that is the human being. — Charlotte Rampling

The War of the Earth and the Men, of Pascal Baqué, is a rare, impactful piece, the crossing of saga and holy history, of the profane and the mystic, of novel, poem, and Midrash, a sort of hymn for our times, situated somewhere between Kafka, Faulkner, and Mahfouz. All my admiration. — Ivan Segré, La règle du jeu

Between Tolkien and Harry Potter, even bordering on the Da Vinci Code, this strange and evocative text raises a deep question, however: How do things seriously stand with the relationship, intimate and contradictory, between Judaism (or Judaisms) and what, historically through now, Christ’s Revelation spread with his strength. In our imaginings and their eventual fantasies, it is a question of our future, for time keeps marching on. At the very least, this is a book that is ahead of itself. — ​Jean-Luc Marion

I like that a writer has a crazy ambition with the world today, and comes along with a monster-book. I like that he reanimates the lyrical and the French language with a myth, taking Tolkien as a point of reference. I like to find myself here in the company of Churchill and Jean Genet, Georges Bataille and Walter Benjamin… I like the idea that since the dawn of time, something of our future plays out in the tension between the primitive turf and seventy descendants of Noah, depositaries of the Staff of Moses… I like this dizzying, Talmudic blend of erudition and facetious humor. So that said, welcome aboard “Bacqué’s Arc”! — ​François Samuelson

Pascal had been as furiously Thomist, Augustinian, and Pascalian as he was to become (helped along by his hypermnesia, his talent, and the forward motion of his poetic adventure), powerfully, learnedly, and authentically Jewish. — Bernard-Henri Lévy, Le Point

An initiatory and metaphysical novel spanning 6000 years of history to bring light to the world’s dark side. Dazzling and wild. — Le Figaro

An imposing book, a world that invents itself; epic like Tolkien, corrosive like Houellebecq, dizzying as a page of the Talmud… and lyrical like Victor Hugo!

1945: the war is over, though the final outcome is being played out elsewhere. The great composer John Bute and Tolkien travel East with Churchill. Why? Because the world is falling out of balance in an entirely new sense. Because, as always, it’s in the turf that men are redefined. Because something has to be saved from Hermann’s hands, whose empire has ruled the world for a thousand years. As they do so, the secrets of an ancient, millennial Europe come to light. They encounter seventy archetypal men from throughout the ages, taking us to the very heart of the continuing tragedy that is war, and unlocking the mysteries of life itself.

December 999: Emperor Otton and Pope Sylvester pay a visit to Harr, father of Elias and Hermann. What is the reason of this visit of Power to Intelligence? A shameful secret. Harr will fall, and History will continue following this failure. Hermann will give into his darker urges and seize the sceptre. He will neither live nor die – and us along with him. The man of the turf.

Between these parallel narratives, this book is our epic saga. They give an added dimension to this journey from West to East, culminating in a dramatic showdown between Otton and Sylvestre, who dream of the ideal empire, and Harr and his twin sons, Hermann and Elias, whose bitter struggle will weigh heavily on the world.

To confront the fate of the West – its nations, religions, history, etc. – in such a way is a rare and ambitious undertaking. In order to embark on this odyssey, the author plumbs his poetic imagination to create a myth weaving in all the major world figures of literature, music, politics . . .  His superb writing is laden with lyrical flashes of brilliance; a keen sense of observation; and uplifting humor. This is a ground-breaking book for our time.

Pascal Bacqué is 48 years old. He lives in Paris, and dedicated himself to literature at a young age. Slow and steady, his work ripened, first in poetic form – Imperium, Ode to the end of the world (Editions L’Age d’Homme) – but also by participating in intellectual life (articles, conferences…). Like others, he only wrote one book, but this one defines and announces itself henceforth as a memorable tale. 15 years of notes and 5 different versions made him take a stroll simultaneously through his own life (he has eight children) and through the world. He has begun, at present, to adapt his own outlook.

Praise for The Legend of Elias:

You can fully immerse yourself in this book, play mindgames, dream, admire and disagree . It is a book to be read aloud, a book on which to meditate, listen with the third ear, read on the spot, backwards, very fast, on tenterhooks . It is a book that I have read all in one go, albeit slowly and at length, with the growing feeling that I am facing an enigma, a literary quirk, a book that is both a monster and an utterly  absorbing narrative which cannot be put down and which, once read, keeps its grip on you. — Bernard-Henri Lévy

 

Praise for Ode to the end of the world:

This poet has a formidable weapon, a double-edged voice. Piercing the air, it penetrates the very foundations of the French language. It’s a shofar !  — Thierry Jolif-Maïkov