Additional Book Information

Series: NYRB Classics
ISBN: 9781681377421
Pages: 144
Publication Date: May 16, 2023

The Child and the River

by Henri Bosco, translated from the French by Joyce Zonana

Paperback
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An NYRB Classics Original

The story of Henri Bosco’s The Child and the River is straightforward yet haunting: Pascalet, a boy growing up on a farm in France, is told he can play anywhere he likes—except by the river. Of course he dreams of going to the river, and one day he does.
 
He falls asleep in a small boat tied to an old dock, then wakes up to find himself drifting . . . Onto an island where some gypsies are camping. There, he sees another young boy, perhaps also a gypsy, tied up and beaten. Stealthily, he frees him, and the two escape in a boat, then spend an idyllic—beautifully described—week living freely on the river.
 
Eventually, Gatzo, the other child, is somewhat magically reunited with his family. Pascalet returns home, desperately missing his friend and the wild life they shared . . . Some time later, Gatzo, orphaned, appears at Pascalet’s doorstep: the two “brothers,” one light-skinned, the other darker, are reunited. (And that’s material for another story, as the narrator, the grown-up Pascalet, tells us.)
 
A sort of French Huckleberry FinnThe Child and the River is also considered a “crossover” book, appealing as much to adults as to children. It has sold more than three million copies in France.