On Hist Fic Saturday
Let's go back to ...1954
Ebook 11 June 2020
Paperback16 June 2020
My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book
Summer 1954. Stan has been hunting for fossils since the age of six. Now, having made a career out of studying the remains of tiny lifeforms, he hears a story he cannot forget: the skeleton of a huge creature, a veritable dragon, lies deep in an Alpine glacier. And he is determined to find it. Leaving his life in Paris behind, Stan sets out in pursuit of a legend. But he is no mountaineer, and to attempt his dangerous expedition he must call on loyal friend and colleague Umberto, who arrives with an eccentric young assistant, and expert guide Gio. Time is short: the four men must descend before the weather turns. Bonds are forged and tested as the hazardous quest for the earth’s lost creatures becomes a journey into Stan’s own past.
What did I think about it..
Having searched for fossils all his life, palaeontologist, Sam is excited to learn that a veritable dragon lies hidden in the deep of an Alpine glacier. In the summer of 1954, and after meticulous planning, Stan sets off with two colleagues and a taciturn guide to attempt to discover the whereabouts of this creature, the discovery of which will be the pinnacle of Stan's life work. The way to the glacier is treacherous beyond reason, and there are many pitfalls and challenges which will test this intrepid group to the very limits of their endurance.
Throughout the story the law of the mountain with its cruel charm takes centre stage and as we are reminded, Là su, i mostre l é solo chi te te portes drio - Up there, the only monsters are the ones you take with you.
Beautifully written, with a stark simplicity which belies its strength, this journey into the unknown is less about palaeontology and more about life, love, friendship and the damage of a lost and lonely life. A Hundred Million Years and a Day is the story of one man's obsessional need to discover his place in the world, even if in finding that place he risks everything he owns. It also acts a powerful reminder to us that, in the vast cavern of infinity, we are merely tiny specks in the greater picture of the world's evolution.
Jean-Baptiste Andrea is a director, screenwriter and author, whose 2017 debut Ma Reine was a huge critical success, winning 12 literary prizes, including the Prix du Premier Roman and the Prix Femina des Lycéens. A Hundred Million Years and a Day is his first book to be published in English.
About the Translator
Sam Taylor is a former Observer journalist and the award-winning translator of novels including HHhH, The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair and Lullaby.