cover image Climates


André Maurois, trans. from the French by Adriana Hunter. Other Press, $15.95 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-59051-538-9

This lucid new translation of a novel originally published in 1928 probes the timeless complications, betrayals, and fascinations wrought by love. Coming from a wealthy family that owns a profitable paper mill, young Philippe Marcenat lives a comfortable if empty life in central France, in Limousin, haunted by the notion of a romantic ideal gleaned from a favorite childhood book. While convalescing from bronchitis in Italy, he meets Odile Malet, a flirtatious French beauty from a lower-class family, and is instantly smitten. Despite his family’s objections, the two are quickly married. But as Philippe falls into a morass of jealousy and disillusionment, his overbearing behavior drives Odile into the arms of another man. The mismatched couple’s inevitable tragedy unfolds in the book’s first half, while the latter half, told from the perspective of Philippe’s second wife, Isabelle de Cheverny, details her own undaunted efforts to earn the love and respect of her dismissive and unfaithful husband, whose behavior has ironically come to mirror that of Odile. With Sarah Bakewell’s (How to Live) introduction providing historical context and insight into the autobiographical nature of Maurois’s material, this new edition of Climates marks a valuable reintroduction to a neglected master. (Dec.)