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As the First World War rages on, the daily life of a small town near the front is hardly disturbed by the report of artillery fire and the parade of wounded in its streets. But within the space of a year, this illusion of ordinary days is shattered by the deaths of three innocents—a charming schoolmistress from “the north,” who captured every male heart only to take her own life without apparent reason; an angelic eight-year-old girl, who is strangled, her body abandoned by the canal; and the cherished wife of the local policeman, who dies in labor while her husband is hunting the little girl's murderer.

Twenty years on, the policeman still struggles to make sense of these mysteries that both torment and sustain him. In the pages of his notebooks he continually—desperately, obsessively—summons up the past and its ghosts. But excavating the town's secret history will bring neither peace to him nor justice to the wicked. And as his solitary detective work continues on these long-closed cases, we come to see that his efforts can lead only to an unimaginable widening of the tragedy.

In the policeman's simple, plangent voice--full of unflinching scrutiny and the compassion of weary experience--Philippe Claudel gives us a tale of galvanizing suspense and an indelible meditation on morality.

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Used availability for Philippe Claudel's By a Slow River

Hardback Editions

June 2006 : USA Hardback
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Title: By a Slow River
Author(s): Philippe Claudel
ISBN: 1-4000-4280-1 / 978-1-4000-4280-7 (USA edition)
Publisher: Knopf
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Paperback Editions

June 2007 : USA Paperback
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Title: By a Slow River: A Novel
Author(s): Philippe Claudel
ISBN: 1-4000-7801-6 / 978-1-4000-7801-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: Anchor
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Kindle Editions

December 2007 : USA, Canada Kindle edition
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Title: By a Slow River: A Novel
Author(s): Philippe Claudel
Publisher: Anchor
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA