The Glory of the Pythres is one of the most famed novels by French novelist Richard Millet. Set in Corrèze on the plateau of Millevaches, the novel tells the story of the Pythre family from the end of the nineteenth century to the late twentieth. It begins with Andre Pythre, who arrives in town one evening with a woman supposed to be his wife or perhaps a servant. Taciturn and melancholic, perhaps cursed, the Pythres live a grim existence, locked up with their dead through long winters and passing on their problems like heirlooms to their children. They, like their neighbors, are outsiders, their language barely comprehensible to other Frenchmen, their lives defined by tribal hatreds whose origins have been long forgotten. They embody the centuries of privation and stubbornness that has shaped the French peasantry of the region.
Visionary and ambitious, Richard Millet's stunning novel explores whether Pythre and his family, whether any person, can overcome one’s fate and circumstance, to transcend a persistent darkness that pulls one into silence. The translation is no less ambitious than the novel itself. It captures this forgotten world in Millet's musical prose; it contrasts the strange patois of the villagers against "proper" French. Filled with finely observed characters and a breathtaking power of description, The Glory of the Pythres is a unique, powerful work of art.