Second Harvest by Jean Giono
Aubignane is a village in Provence; or, rather, it was, for it has long been dying. The only inhabitants remaining are the old blacksmith, the well-digger s widow and Panturle, the hunter. Now the blacksmith and the widow abandon the village, the latter promising she will find Panturle a wife. He is not made for solitude and gradually he becomes morose almost to the point of madness. Then a woman comes to the village as if by some supernatural path. She is all it takes for Panturle to start digging the land again and planting wheat, a second harvest. The bread will give sustenance to new life, a village with children once more. In Second Harvest Jean Giono shows once again the sensuous eye for the details of country life and the subtle insights into human behaviour which made him one of France s greatest 20th century storytellers.