It is 1919. On a summer’s night in Normandy, a new-born baby is left in a basket outside the home of Albert and Jeanne Arnaud.
The childless couple take the foundling in, name him Jean, and decide to raise him as their own, though his parentage remains a mystery.
Though Jean’s life is never dull, he grows up knowing little of what lies beyond his local area.
Until the day he sets off on his bicycle to discover the world, and encounters a Europe on the threshold of interesting times...
I greatly enjoyed The Foundling Boy. It tells the story of a young man (Jean) born in post-WWII Normandy, and took him from his infancy – left on a doorstep – growing up under the influence of both his hardworking adoptive parents, and their somewhat more gallavanting employers. As a young man, he travels through 1930’s Europe – England, France, Italy – and encounters all sorts of characters, and all sorts of notions of life and politics, along the way. Towards the end, as our hero Jean turns 20, the onset of WWII looms darker and darker. This delightful book was apparently inspired in part by Henry Fielding’s “Tom Jones”, and is very much a French coming-of-Age story in a similar vein. The author himself is a renowned author in France, and a member of the Academie Francaise. His work is only just being translated into English.
Regarding the translation, it is very good, but I think it overreaches a bit in translating the French into such a conversational British style that some of the French character is lost, particularly with a British reader. The reader is excellent however.
I’m not quite sure why this book has gotten so few reviews on Audible and hasn’t taken off. It really was a fantastic listen, and I am very much hoping Audible provides the sequel to the book, The Foundling’s War.
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