The narrator, journeying by foot across the barren plains of the lower Alps, has his thirst assuaged by the well water drawn by the shepherd Elzéard Bouffier. Here begins the subtle parable which Giono weaves of the life-giving shepherd who chooses to live alone and carry out the work of God. Over forty years the desolate hills and lifeless villages which so oppressed the traveller are transformed by the dedication of one man. All with the help of a few acorns.
Giono's hope was to set in motion a worldwide reforestation programme that would rejuvenate the earth. The Man who Planted Trees is a hymn to creation and a purveyor of confidence in man's ability to change his – indeed the world's – lot.
This is a novel of adventure, a roman courtois, that tells the story of Angelo, a nobleman who has been forced to leave Italy because of a duel, and is returning to his homeland by way of Provence. But that region is in the grip of a cholera epidemic, travelers are being imprisoned behind barricades, and exposure to the disease is almost certain.
Angelo's escapades, adventures, and heroic self-sacrifice in this hot, hallucinatory landscape, among corpses, criminals and rioting townspeople, share this epic tale.
Regain ou l'éclatante première manière de Giono : mystique, solaire, animale.