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Novel set in Corsica (Paris and Algiers) – “lyrical, intelligent, beautifully crafted”

17th December 2015

The Sermon on the Fall of Rome by Jérôme Ferrari, novel set in Corsica (Paris and Algiers).

Winner of the Prix de Goncourt, The Sermon on the Fall of Rome is one of the most elegantly written books I’ve read in years. Lyrical, intelligent, beautifully crafted, this story centers around a village bar in Corsica but becomes a family saga and coming-of-age novel at once.


When two childhood friends, Libero and Matthieu, return to their homeland to run a bar, it seems a dream come true in many ways as they leave behind their disillusions of university and life on their own. However, the cast of characters who enter their lives eventually wear on the two as they struggle through love and family, life and death.

From the standpoint of place, this book interestingly enough takes readers away from Italy, from Corsica to Paris and Algiers. Each location is described in detail and supporting characters in each place assist in painting a wonderfully clear picture of each city. It’s one of the joys of reading this book.

The characters are another highlight. From the tortured Matthieu to loyal Aurelie and woeful Bernard to frustrated Libero, each and every character has a story to tell. And those stories unfold thoughtfully throughout the text.

There were moments of pure awe when reading this book, but also moments of frustration as I wanted more for and from the main characters. When I step back from the book, it really is just a glimpse of the lives to two young men at a turning point. But when I jump in with both feet, it’s an amazing account of how various elements in life affect these characters at this volatile moment in time.

Recommended for a mature audience due to language, explicit sex descriptions and violence.

Stephanie for the TripFiction Team.

IMG_3125Stephanie Ward is the author of the fabulous children’s book Wally The Warm-Weather Penguin, set in the Galapagos Islands, and you can follow her via Twitter, Facebook and her website (Notes from a writer with Wanderlust).

Do come and connect with the Team at TripFiction via social media: TwitterFacebook and Pinterest and when we have some interesting photos we can sometimes be found over on Instagram too.

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