The Testament of Yves Gundron

Emily Barton

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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A wonderfully imaginative and surprising debut novel about the inexorable approach of modernity.

"Imagine the time of my grandfather's grandfather, when the darkness was newly separated from the light. Society was only a shadowy image of what it would soon become. This was Mandragora before my invention and all that it set in motion."-from The Testament of Yves Gundron

So begins Yves Gundron's account of the strange events to befall Mandragora. It is a desperate, primitive place-plowing was only recently introduced, candles do not exist, and the inhabitants know no number larger than twenty. Nevertheless, there was little conflict before Yves's invention-the harness-irrevocably transformed the Mandragorans' lives.

Yves's manuscript, which bears witness to these changes, appears to have been prepared for publication by an academic named Ruth Blum. But what at first seems a historical document proves to be something else entirely. Yves's brother, Mandrik le Chouchou, the town mystic, regales his fellow villagers with exotic tales of his travels to "Indochina." And when Yves recalls the words of a song that is recognizably a blues lyric, we know that either Ruth Blum is up to something or Mandragora is not what it seems. In this playful and adventurous debut, Emily Barton explores the two-edged sword of technology, asking what is lost in our fervent pursuit of modernity.

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The Testament of Yves Gundron
PART ICHAPTER ONETHE FIRST INVENTION1Imagine the time of my grandfather's grandfather, when the darkness was newly separated from the light. Society was only a shadowy image of what it would soon become. This was Mandragora before my invention and all that it set in motion. People spoke to one another, but their habits of thought were coarse. People lived in fear. Our forefathers farmed, but with great difficulty; a man used a sharp stick to dig a hole for each seed, and furrowed his fields by dragging his fingernails through them and picking out each small stone.

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About the Author

Emily Barton

Emily Barton is a graduate of Harvard and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She lives in Brooklyn.

Emily Barton

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Emily Barton

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The Testament of Yves Gundron
Emily Barton

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
January 2000
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781466824096
ISBN10: 1466824093
336 pages
$7.99
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