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Publisher's Summary

By 1785, deep in the heart of Paris, the city's oldest cemetery is overflowing, tainting the very breath of those who live nearby. Into their midst comes Jean-Baptiste Baratte, a young, provincial engineer charged by the king with demolishing it. At first Baratte sees this as a chance to clear the burden of history, a fitting task for a modern man of reason. But before long, he begins to suspect that the destruction of the cemetery might be a prelude to his own.
©2011 Andrew Miller (P)2012 Dreamscape Media, LLC
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Critic Reviews

"One of the most brilliant aspects of Miller's writing is his ability to question unobtrusively, through style alone, sentimentality about both life under the Bourbons and the creative destruction of revolution...he has an instinctive knack for casting bright similes, never overextended, that ripple suggestively...The writing throughout is crystalline, uncontrived, striking and intelligent. You could call it pure." (Jonathan Beckman, Literary Review)
Every so often a historical novel comes along that is so natural, so far from pastiche, so modern, that it thrills and expands the mind. Pure is one...Miller's newly minted sentences are arresting, often unsettling and always thought-provoking. Exquisite inside and out, Pure is a near-faultless thing: detailed, symbolic and richly evocative of a time, place and man in dangerous flux. It is brilliance distilled, with very few impurities." (Holly Kyte, Telegraph)
"Quietly powerful, consistently surprising, Pure is a fine addition to substantial body of work...pre-revolutionary Paris is evoked in pungent detail...By concentrating on the bit players and byways of history, Miller conjures up an eerily tangible vanished world." (Suzi Feay, Financial Times)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By marsha on 08-27-12

This book is exquisite

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I enjoyed this book for many reasons. It is beautifully written,a good story, and a vivid description of Paris at the time. I liked the people who inhabit the book, they are good and decent people.

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6 of 7 people found this review helpful


By Carol on 02-16-14

Engrossing, entertaining, but weird

I am really glad I listened to this book. At first, I thought the author wrote it strictly from his head. But in the epilogue, I discovered it was a fictionalized real event. That made it even more meaningful to me. So, it is historical fiction (late 18th century), a love story, a bit of mystery. The main character, John-Baptiste, an engineer, was given the job of demolishing a very old cemetery in Paris. He designed the process and supervised the project. While Parisians weren't very happy about what happened to their families who were buried there, I couldn't help but think about the contrast with the kind of conflict a similar project caused in my city. Watching John-Baptiste grow and change made me feel quite close to him. Other characters weren't developed as much as his.

Supernatural eeriness was not part of this story. However, the weirdness of digging up thousands of bodies, (often no coffins or very flimsy ones) was enough.

This was a good story, a bit on the weird side, that was satisfying and provided a good look at 18th century Paris.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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