If you just opened to any page in this book and read the first sentence that appealed to you, it would sell itself. In my mind, it leaps off of the bookshelf, into your arms, and being finally introduced, you and it become inseparable.
Jules Renard's life is a strange and joyful mix of the mundane and remarkable. A writer, a father, a politician, and a devotee of the French countryside, Renard ran in circles that included Henri de Toulouse Lautrec and Sarah Bernhardt. He inspired W. Somerset Maugham, and Julian Barnes' Nothing to be Frightened Of is largely devoted to Renard. Yet why is he virtually unknown today? I can't answer that, but I can convince you to remedy the situation.
This highly edited journal is really not so much a biography, but a collection of observations and anecdotes from Renard's lovely life. His tales are humorous. His quick wit, keen sense of irony are sure to charm you. Each small glimpse into Renard's life is quite simply, a delight. Bonus: Renard's obvious devotion to nature and his ability to write it beautifully makes this the perfect book to accompany you on all your summertime outdoor adventures.— From Erin B.
"Jules Renard's endlessly amusing journals are available again, and whether read straight through or dipped into at random, they're a marvel to behold...readers of this work are certainly encouraged to laugh throughout at his singularly savage wit."Tayt Harlin, Los Angeles Times Book Review
"You are holding a secret book, which influenced many great writers. I received it first from Donald Barthelme who received it from Susan Sontag. Once you have found it, you will find again and again that many of the writers you love have read it. Renard's way with the detail is unforgettable. I have never forgotten the starfish placed like a badge on a little boy's swimsuit at the beach, his baby arms and legs wiggling like the starfishes. Renard writes about spiders, about the moon, and the poetry he makes from the things his eyes tell him is joyful, particular-the world in a detail." Michael Silverblatt, Bookworm, KCRW Radio
"Directly, or indirectly, Renard is at the origin of contemporary literature."
"Poetic, amusing, instructive, melancholicRenard's writing should find its way to the shelves of writers and lovers of fine writing. How ideal to have sentences like this at hand: 'In the path, the caterpillar plays a soundless little tune on its accordion."
Marilyn Dahl, Shelf Awareness
"The irresistibly quotable Journal of Jules Renard, a record of Renard's development as a writer in fin de siècle France, demonstrates his gift for quips, aphorisms, and striking observations."
"The Journal of Jules Renard is likely to refresh, inspire, and amuse anyone, especially any writer, receptive to the exquisitely voiced discriminations of a tough mind."
Ron Slate, On the Seawall
"The Journal of Jules Renard is an artist's notebook of singular quality."The Oregonian
"Renard's Journal quickly became a touchstone for modern French literary sensibilities: tart, self-critical, observant, skeptical, and, most of all, capable of a memorable image or phrase...The folks at Tin house Books have done a great service in restoring Renard to readers."R.R. Reno, FirstThings.com
"It's not hard to imagine why Renard's journal is a favorite among the literati...in Renard's hands, the immense, impossible beauty of the world and this life it affords us somehow becomes bigger when reduced to these constitutive bits." Billy Thompson, Quarterly Conversation