Laura | George Sand #FRAfiction

When I met M. Hartz, he was a naturalist and dealer who ran his business affairs in a quiet way, selling minerals, insects or plants to collectors.

Thankfully I read and thoroughly enjoyed Mauprat a decade or so ago. If I had started my George Sand journey with Laura: A Journey into the Crystal, it may have ended right here. This is the weirdest little book I think I have ever read.

I have no idea it’s purpose, or what Sand intended me, or any other reader, to take from it. Was it a dream fantasy or a science fiction horror story? Was it a coming of age love story or a philosophical ramble? Who knows?

It’s only saving grace was it’s slimness, so that I could read it in a couple of quick sessions, scratching my head the whole time. I tried to research it, but no-one else seemed to know either. I only found publisher notes and second hand book sales. On Goodreads one and two star reviews abounded. I’m not the only one who found it to be incoherent, uninteresting, disjointed, heavy-handed, and just plain odd.

Laura’s special ability is one that allows her to transport herself inside a geode. Or is it? Maybe it’s just her cousin, Alexis who can get lost inside the brilliant world of a geode. However it works, Alexis meets Laura in the geode and it is here they fall in love. Or do they?

A Jules Verne-like journey takes us across crystal plains, climbing up into sharp, sparkling spikes into the heart of the geode. Or does it? Is it all a dream sequence or a hallucinatory experience? Who knows? Who cares?

I’m sure if I tried hard enough I could talk about the struggle between science and mystery, beauty and nature. If I cared enough, I could discuss various aspects like destiny, materialism, racism and colonisation. But I don’t.

I’ve pulled out three quotes that caught my eye enough to underline:

  • The artist was born to be a traveller; everything is a journey for his spirit
  • if your whole life is nothing but an application to material things, you might just as well be iron yourself, in other words an inert substance deprived of reasoning.
  • in this land, thoughts walk and feet follow.

I haven’t had many duds with my CC Spins, but this was definitely one. If you’ve read Laura and have some insights to throw my way, feel free.

To help me get back on the George Sand train, please rave about your favourites below, so I know which one to try next. I’m also keen to read a good biography on Sand’s life if you’d like to recommend one.

Book: Laura: A Journey Into the Crystal
Author: George Sand
Translator: Sue Dyson (English translation 2004)
ISBN: 9781782274148
Publisher: Pushkin Press
Date: 2018 (originally published 1864)
Format: Paperback

(post also shared on Sensational Sands collaborative blog)

17 thoughts on “Laura | George Sand #FRAfiction

  1. I’ve enjoyed Sand in the past and am fascinated by her unconventional life. Unlikely as it seems you’ve made me want to read this one with your comments about Jules Verne.
    Also, Lisa and I have a George Sand blog, sparsely populated. Hopefully she will come along and give you the details (or I will get home in a week or so).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mauprat was an amazing read & I guess I was expecting something similar. From what I’ve gleaned this was written towards the end of her life & is grouped with those books considered quirky or odd during this time of her life (I’ll try and find the article that I read…) and I will definitely search out your GS blog with Lisa.

      Like

  2. HI Brona, would you like to have your review uploaded to the Sensational Sand blog?
    Now that you are with WordPress, I can join you up as a contributor, and then all you need to do is copy your entire post and publish it there.

    Like

  3. Not all classics are good, right… I haven’t read Sand and I definitely won’t start here, I might have been tempted otherwise because of my name in the title!

    Like

    1. I guess sci-fi was an emerging genre made popular by the likes of HG Wells and Verne, that many authors dabbled in it. But it’s rather unsettling when it’s so different from what you have come to expect from that author!
      Now I know to steer clear of The Lifted Veil – thanks 🙂

      Like

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