Human Nature by Serge Joncour

Set in 1999, as France prepares to welcome a new millennium, the country is battered by storms. But holed up on the farm where he and his three sisters grew up, Alexandre seems less afraid of the weather than of the police turning up. Alone in the darkness, he reflects on the end of a rural way of life he once thought would never change. And his thoughts return to the baking hot summer of 1976, when he met Constance, an environmental activist who fell for the beauty of the countryside and was prepared to use any means to save it.

Human Nature by Serge Joncour, translated by Louise Rogers Lalaurie, will be published on August 8, 2022 (Gallic Books).

The original edition of Human Nature won the 2020 Prix Femina. It is an impassioned, ambitious novel that charts three decades of political, social, and environmental upheaval in rural France, where Joncour’s previous novel, Wild Dog, was also set. Told through the lives of a French farming family, Joncour explores the delicate bond between the human and natural worlds as they threaten to snap.

Joncour is interested in the different relationships people have with nature depending on whether they live in the countryside or an urban environment. He offers a critique of globalization, corporate greed, and the notion of progress—adapt or die. Human Nature will stir up conversation and debate about commonplace things like supermarkets, highways, urban environmentalism, intensive agriculture, productivity, mad cow, and livestock disease.  

About the Author: Serge Joncour is a French novelist and screenwriter. He was born in Paris in 1961 and studied Philosophy at university before deciding to become a writer. His 2016 novel Repose-toi sur moi won the Prix Interallie and was published in English in March 2022 under the title, Lean on Me. He lives in Paris.

About the Translator: Louise Rogers Lalaurie is a translator from the French and the author of Matisse: The Books. Her translations have been shortlisted for the CWA Daggers and Best Translated Book awards.

Many thanks to Meryl Zegarek Public Relations for the review copy of this book.

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