In “The Lost Upland” W. S. Merwin vividly conveys his intimate knowledge of the people and the countryside in this ancient part of France (home of the Lascaux caves). In three narratives of small-town life, Merwin shows with matchless poetic and narrative power how the past is still palpably present.
On its original publication in 1992 Jane Kramer wrote, “These stories are a gift from one of the great poets of the English language, a chronicle of the heartstopping seasons of one small corner of La France Profonde and of its stubborn and illusive characters. Merwin’s French peasants are a force of nature, like the blackberry brambles that used to choke his garden, and he cultivates them both with that attentive, exacting, and relentlessly patient genius that great poets and great gardeners share. This is, simply, the most beautiful writing about France I know.”