The Annual Banquet of the Gravediggers' Guild

Mathias Énard, Frank Wynne (trans.)

The Annual Banquet of the Gravediggers' Guild
Fitzcarraldo Editions
United Kingdom
4 October 2023

The Annual Banquet of the Gravediggers’ Guild

Mathias Énard, Frank Wynne (trans.)

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 capture the essence of rurality, the intrepid scholar shuttles around restlessly on his moped to interview local residents.

Unbeknownst to David, in these nondescript lands, once theatres of wars and revolutions, Death leads the dance. When an existence ends, 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. Only once a year do Death and the living observe a temporary truce, during a gargantuan three-day feast where gravediggers gorge themselves on food, libations and language, presided over by the village mayor.

Brimming with Mathias Enard's characteristic wit and encyclopaedic 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 - and a paradoxically macabre paean to life's inexhaustible richness.

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