Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Testament of Yves Gundron

The Testament of Yves Gundron

Emily Barton

Farrar, Straus and Giroux




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 But what at first seems a historical document proves to be something else entirely.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.


The Testament of Yves Gundron

Imagine the time of my grandfather's grandfather, when the darkness was newly separated from the light. Society was only...


Praise for The Testament of Yves Gundron

"Barton's intelligent and amusing facility with idioms and speech patterns rooted in Middle English injects a dynamic historical feel into her truly visionary project." - Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Emily Barton

Emily Barton's fiction has appeared in Story, American Short Fiction, and Conjunctions. Her first novel, The Testament of Yves Gundron, called "blessedly post-ironic, engaging, and heartfelt" by Thomas Pynchon, won the Bard Fiction Prize and was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. She is the recipient of a 2006 artist's grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and a 2006 fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Emily Barton

Copyright Greg Martin

Emily Barton

From the Publisher

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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