“Happy Mortal. When you read this, I shall be no more.” … “My story is short and sincere and frank, because none but you shall see my writing.”
In 2000 the new owners of an Alpine chateau decided to renovate the parquet floor of its upper storeys. On the underside of the planks were found long messages written in 1880 that revealed the village life, fears and thoughts of the man who originally laid the floor – Joachim Martin, who kept this secret diary, written with the knowledge that his words would be discovered by a carpenter in the future.
The planks were given to Jacques Olivier-Boudon, a former Professor of History at the Sorbonne, Paris. Entrusted with this unknown documentary material of life in France in the late 19th century, Olivier-Boudon casts a biographical magnifying glass on the identity of this unknown carpenter, his life story, and the message he was trying to transmit, at a time of religious and political upheaval.
From stories on agriculture and village life, to salacious tales of infanticide, extramarital relations and suspicions of paedophilia, Joachim’s Floor is a compelling and detailed insight, revealing the hidden truth of life, love and death during one of the most turbulent times in French history.
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