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Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry | April 1943 (this edition 2000) | Reynal & Hitchcock (this edition Harcourt) | Paperback $11
Moral allegory and spiritual autobiography, The Little Prince is the most translated book in the French language. With a timeless charm it tells the story of a little boy who leaves the safety of his own tiny planet to travel the universe, learning the vagaries of adult behaviour through a series of extraordinary encounters. His personal odyssey culminates in a voyage to Earth and further adventures.
What perfect, terrible timing for this book.
By now, everyone has had their say about those terrorist attacks in Paris this last weekend. There’s probably nothing I can add to the discussion that won’t sound too frivolous or political. I’m just terribly sad for all the people there who have to fear for the safety of their beautiful city, of their home.
I read The Little Prince in French along with an English translation. It took me quite a bit longer than it should have. My French is rusty from disuse. It’s been a decade since I went to Paris for a study abroad program. I’m ashamed to say I found even this small, simple book a challenge to read. But I’m glad I read it.
Le Petit Prince is the story of a man who is stranded for several days in a desert with a boy who claims to have come from a tiny asteroid. The boy — the little prince — describes his journeys and the people (mostly asinine adults) he’s met along the way. This sounds simplistic, but every part of the boy’s story is designed to reveal some facet of the author’s experiences or human nature in general.
I vaguely remember seeing the 1974 film version of this story ages ago as a child, and I don’t think I entirely understood the implications of the prince’s “going home” at the end. Even though it is often considered a children’s story — whether that’s because it’s so short and poetic, or because of the illustrations, or because it is about a child — I think that this is a book that you really get more out of as an adult, with some awareness of subtext and some experience of the world.
I was going to see if I could get a hold of a DVD copy of the animated/stop-motion film based on this book that came out just this past summer. Hearing about it is what prompted me to put Le Petit Prince on my TBR Pile Challenge list for 2015, after all, and the trailers I’ve seen look lovely. But it looks like I’ll have to wait for March next year for the US release!
- Official The Little Prince website
- Official Antoine de Saint-Exupéry website
- Fondation Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Publication information: de Saint-Exupéry, Antoine. Le Petit Prince. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2000. Print.
Source: Owned, original source unknown.
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