Forever Valley


Forever Valley

Marie Redonnet
Translated by Jordan Stump

European Women Writers Series

117 pages


September 1994


$13.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

This mesmerizing novel is about a sixteen-year-old girl who lives in a rectory and works in a dance hall. Gradually she embarks upon a "personal project": she digs pits in the rectory garden and "looks for the dead." Her story, which has brevity and magical intensity of a fairy tale, is marked equally by tragedy and dark humor.

Forever Valley is one of three novels that are the first works to appear in English by Marie Redonnet, one of France's most original new authors (the other novels are Hôtel Splendid and Rose Mellie Rose, both also available from the University of Nebraska Press). Translator Jordan Stump notes that these books "unmistakably fit together, although they have neither characters nor setting in common." In all three novels, Redonnet has said, "it is the women who fight, who seek, who create."

Author Bio

Jordan Stump is a professor of French at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.


"In these three slim, yet amazingly potent, novels, French author Redonnet. . . creates a triptych joined by theme, symbol, voice, style, and temperament. . . . Each [novel—Hôtel Splendid, Forever Valley, Rose Mellie Rose] features a commanding female protagonist trapped in her place of origin, neither able nor wanting to escape from the home that gave her life but which now threatens to destroy her. The narrator of Hôtel Splendid never questions her doomed quest to keep the establishment running, the girl in Forever Valley leaves only when dam construction forces her to, and Mellie turns down several job offers on the continent and submits to nature's call to death. Redonnet's prose reads like the barest of poetry, devoid of description, while still managing to paint vivid pictures of the rich landscapes that play a vital role in every story. Most impressively, these three tales represent an evolution of the feminine from the alienated, sexless martyr to the prostituted prepubescent on the verge of self-knowledge to the self-loving, self-determined Mellie, who dies to give her baby a chance at a better life. To her credit, Redonnet packs these jewels with much more: Highly personal images of utopia, the importance of heritage, the necessity of burying the dead to approach the future. Like traveling a very long, very dark tunnel into a blinding bright beautiful light."—Kirkus

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