With a contribution by Frank Wynne
To research his thesis on contemporary agrarian life, anthropology student David Mazon moves from Paris to La Pierre-Saint-Christophe, a village in the marshlands of western France. Determined to understand the essence of the local culture, the intrepid young scholar scurries around restlessly on his moped to interview residents.
But what David doesn’t yet know is that here, in this seemingly ordinary place, once the stage for wars and revolutions, Death leads a dance: when one thing perishes, the Wheel of Life recycles its soul and hurls it back into the world as microbe, human, or wild animal, sometimes in the past, sometimes in the future. And once a year, Death and the living observe a temporary truce during a gargantuan three-day feast where gravediggers gorge themselves on food, drink, and language …
Brimming with Mathias Énard’s characteristic wit and encyclopedic brilliance, The Annual Banquet of the Gravediggers’ Guild is a riotous novel where the edges between past and present are constantly dissolving against a Rabelaisian backdrop of excess.