26 Feb 2011
It is only with the heart that one can see rightly;
what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
~Antoine de Saint-Exupery
From the book
The Little Prince (French: Le Petit Prince), published in 1943, is French aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s most famous novella. Saint-Exupéry wrote it while living in the United States. It has been translated into more than 190 languages and sold more than 200 million copies making it one of the best selling books ever.
An earlier memoir by the author recounts his aviation experiences in the Saharan desert. He is thought to have drawn on these same experiences for use as plot elements in The Little Prince. Saint-Exupéry’s novella has been adapted to various media over the decades, including stage, screen and operatic works.
Can’t get enough of this book. When faced with the prospect of having to buy -another- copy (I always give them away), I finally bought the hard cover. The illustrations are incredible. Spend the extra money just for them. You miss so much by having to relate to the paperback, much smaller, illustrations.
This is not a children’s book. The work is, in fact, far too tragic for younger children, even if they don’t grasp all of the imagery presented in the story. The ending is simply too difficult to try to explain to small children.
But, aside from that…this book is so beautiful. It brings tears to my eyes every time I read it. Each planet may be a thinly disguised political lesson, but who cares. The prince’s experiences are touching and at times heart-rending.
He may have been writing a religious/spiritual statement, it may be a social-political commentary, _The Little Prince_ may be an anti-science manifesto. Point is, it doesn’t matter what the “intent” of the story was. The book is so accessible, so deftly written, the story so compelling and honest, that any reader can intepret it in a deeply personal way. Every time you read the book, a different scene will leap out at you. A different line will strike your heart. The fox, the rose, the tippler, the prince, each character is fantastically vivid. As you change in your life, the book will change too. It is a rare and treasured book, indeed.
A note on the translation: The new translation that came out, with cleaned illustrations (which are brilliant). While more “accurate”, the language in the new version is not as soft, not as texture-based. The new translation seems to lack a lot of the tenderness of the original translation; many of the greatest and most memorable phrases come across as harder and less childlike. Interesting to read, but only a pale comparison to the first job.
~By A Customer
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