Sept 19, 2013 - 6:30PM

A bestseller in France and winner of the Prix Renaudot, By a Slow Riveris a mesmerizing and atmospheric tale of three mysterious deaths in an oddly isolated French village during WW I.

The placid daily life of a small town near the front seems impervious to the nearby pounding of artillery fire and the parade of wounded strangers passing through its streets. But the illusion of calm is soon shattered by the deaths of three innocents-the charming new schoolmistress who captures every male heart only to kill herself; an angelic ten-year-old girl who is found strangled; and a local policeman's cherished wife, who dies alone in labor while her husband is hunting the murderer. Twenty years later, the policeman still struggles to make sense of these tragedies, a struggle that both torments and sustains him. But excavating the town's secret history will bring neither peace to him nor justice to the wicked.(Text: Chapters)

Philippe Claudel (born 2 February 1962), is a French writer and film director. Claudel was born in Dombasle-sur-Meurthe, Meurthe-et-Moselle. In addition to his writing, Claudel is a Professor of Literature at the University of Nancy.
After studying in Nancy, he remained there, and for eleven years worked as teacher in prisons. Contact with his students inspired short stories, novels and then screenplays. He has said that the experience made him give up his simple opinions about people, about guilt, about the necessity to judge others. "It's clear to me now that it would have been impossible for me to write a novel likeBrodeck's ReportorBy a Slow River, to make a movie likeI've Loved You So Long, if I hadn't been in jail." He directed the 2008 film I’ve Loved You So Long (Il y a longtemps que je t'aime).

Our next discussion, on Thursday, September 19, will discuss in English the novel By a slow river(Les âmes grises), by French author Philippe Claudel.
As usual, registration is free, just send an email to
Discussion will be followed by the screening of the movie (in French, no subtitles).