A bestseller in France and winner of the Prix Renaudot, Grey Souls is a mesmerising and atmospheric tale of three mysterious deaths in an oddly isolated French village during World War 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 labour 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.
Philippe Claudel is a university lecturer, novelist, film director and scriptwriter. He has written 14 novels that have been translated into various languages. He was born in Dombasle-sur-Meurthe in 1962 where he still lives. In 2009 his film I've Loved You So Long (Il y a longtemps que je t'aime), which draws upon Claudel's eleven years teaching in prisons, won the BAFTA for Best Foreign Language film. Among his novels, Grey Souls won the Prix Renaudot in France, the American Gumshoe Award and the Swedish Martin Beck award. Brodeck's Report won the 2010 Independent Foreign Fiction Award.