Michelle Bailat-Jones

Writer, Translator, Reader

A lovely parcel arrived in the mail today, with my copies of WHAT IF THE SUN…

I love this cover so much – a huge thank you to Onesuch Press for choosing so carefully. It suits the mood of the book. It’s gray here in Switzerland today, which is fitting for the book’s story of a village waiting and hoping for the sun to reappear after months and months of no direct sunlight, and a prediction from a village elder who has told them all that this year, the sun won’t come back to them.

Here is a long passage from early on in the book, when one of the young men from the village climbs up higher into the mountain, despite the snow and the bad weather, to see if he can get a glimpse of the sun and prove to himself and the others that it’s still there…

He kept telling himself that the sun was above him. And, indeed, it seemed that the sun must show itself soon, because above Métrailler was a thinning of the clouds like a cloth whose weave has loosened. And, on the other side of the ridge, a reddish tint had begun to appear. Métrailler raised his head and, growing prideful now with his solitude, said, “I’ll show Tissières, I’ll show everyone!” He arrived at Grand-Dessus, which was a kind of platform jutting out like a peak from the ridge. In good weather, the view extends from there for more than 100 kilometers on both sides. Nothing could be seen, but Métrailler was not looking to see anything in terms of a view. He held his gaze now toward the sky. He sat down on the frozen snow and lifted his head with astonishment toward a window that had just appeared a little above him and to the south through the thinning canopy of fog, on the other side of a great ridge of mountain that we began to be able to see. It was there, indeed, where it came out—the sun—or something that could have been the sun, and it was there that it must have come out from behind the mountain, just in time to hide itself again.

But it had grown red and the rock where Métrailler was standing became red; and the sun up above had not shown itself, although it seemed that we had shown it; it had not risen, although it seemed that we had lifted it: disheveled, and all wrapped up, entwined with clouds which were themselves like clots of blood.

Exactly like a severed head around which the beard and hair still hung smoking; that we lifted in the air a moment, only to let fall again. And already the fog and the darkness had come back to their place.

The book is available from Indiebound, Amazon, and you can always order it from your local bookshop.


5 Responses to “What if the sun…”

  1. helen

    Congratulations, Michelle! How exciting!

    That passage is extraordinary.

    • Michelle

      Thank you, Helen! It’s such an interesting book. Less “flamboyant” than Beauty on Earth, in terms of its style, but the question it asks and how it unravels that question through its different characters is well done.

  2. Scott W.

    Terrific, and congratulations – I will order it. I wasn’t aware of this Ramuz, but it interests me that here (I’m reading the Amazon blurb) he has the sun disappearing while in another of his works, The End of All Men in the English translation, he has the sun just get hotter and closer.

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