Author(s): Philippe Claudel
A bestseller in France and winner of the Prix Renaudot, Grey Souls is a mesmerising and atmospheric tale of three mysterious deaths in an oddly isolated French village during World War I. The placid daily life of a small town near the front seems impervious to the nearby pounding of artillery fire and the parade of wounded strangers passing through its streets. But the illusion of calm is soon shattered by the deaths of three innocents - the charming new schoolmistress who captures every male heart only to kill herself; an angelic ten-year-old girl who is found strangled; and a local policeman's cherished wife, who dies alone in labour while her husband is hunting the murderer. Twenty years later, the policeman still struggles to make sense of these tragedies, a struggle that both torments and sustains him. But excavating the town's secret history will bring neither peace to him nor justice to the wicked.
Winner of Prix Renaudot 2003. Shortlisted for Prix Femina 2003 and Prix Goncourt 2003.
'An odd, disturbing novel, haunted by ghosts, the victims of crimes that are long past but ever present ... a page-turning whodunnit with a subtle aftertaste' Kate Chisholm, Sunday Telegraph. 'A masterpiece ... a beautifully written and mesmeric study of individual and collective guilt' Daily Mail. 'Overwhelming ... the language is magnificent, each word resonates, each sentence paints a picture' Le Parisien.
Philippe Claudel is a novelist, film director and university lecturer. He is the author of Grey Souls, Brodeck's Report, Monsieur Linh and His Child and The Investigation and was appointed to l'Academie Goncourt in 2012.