Home » France » Michel Tournier

Michel Tournier


Michel Tournier was born in Paris in 1924. His father ran a music copyright company, which gave him his love for music. As a child he suffered from ill health. Living in a Paris suburb, he was able to observe the German occupation at first hand. After the war, he studied philosophy at Tübingen, in Germany, where he stayed for four years. He returned to France but failed his agrégation. He attended some lectures by Claude Lévi-Strauss, the anthropologist. After his failure in his exams, he became a translator and editor at Plon as well as working as a broadcaster for French radio and television. After ten years as an editor he published his first work, Vendredi ou les Limbes du Pacifique (Friday or The Other Island) and subsequently became a full-time writer. He has since produced some of the finest novels written in France since the War, examining myth and history, challenging conventional assumptions and making strong use of humour to make serious points. As well as novels and stories, he has written many children’s works and also several non-fiction works. He lived in a former rectory in Choisel, a town where Ingrid Bergman once lived. He died in 2016.

Other sites

Michel Tournier
Michel Tournier and the Novel of Ideas
Michel Tournier and the Metaphor of Fiction
Michel Tournier (in French)
Michel Tournier (in French)
Obituary (in French)


1967 Vendredi ou les Limbes du Pacifique (Friday or The Other Island) (novel)
1970 Le Roi des Aulnes (The Erlking; The Ogre) (novel)
1971 Vendredi ou la vie sauvage (Friday and Robinson: Life on Esperanza Island) (adaptation of Vendredi ou les Limbes du Pacifique (Friday or The Other Island) for children)
1975 Les Météores (Gemini) (novel)
1978 Le Vent Paraclet (The Wind Spirit: An Autobiography) (non-fiction)
1978 Le Coq de bruyère (The Fetishist and Other Stories) (stories)
1978 Amandine et les deux jardins (children’s)
1979 La Fugue du Petit Poucet (children’s)
1979 Pierrot ou Les Secrets de la nuit (children’s)
1980 Gaspard, Melchior et Balthazar (The Four Wise Men) (novel)
1980 Barbedor (story for children from Gaspard, Melchior et Balthazar (The Four Wise Men))
1981 Le Vol du Vampire (non-fiction)
1981 Vues de dos (captions to photos by Edouard Boubat)
1982 Que ma joie demeure (children’s)
1982 L’Aire du muguet (children’s)
1983 Gilles et Jeanne (Gilles and Jeanne) (novel)
1983 Les Rois Mages (novel)
1984 Sept Contes (children’s)
1984 Journal de voyage au Canada (travel)
1984 Le Vagabond immobile (travel)
1985 La Goutte d’or (The Golden Droplet) (novel)
1986 Petites Proses (non-fiction)
1988 Angus (novel)
1989 Le Tabor et le Sinaï (art criticism)
1989 Le Médianoche amoureux (The Midnight Love Feast) (stories)
1992 Le Crépuscule des Masques (non-fiction)
1994 Le Miroir des idées (The Mirror of Ideas) (non-fiction)
1994 La Couleuvrine (children’s)
1994 Le Pied de la lettre (language)
1996 Eléazar ou la source et le buisson (Eleazar, Exodus to the West) (novel)
1997 Des clefs et des serrures : Images et proses (non-fiction)
1997 Le fétichiste : un acte pour un homme seul (drama)
1999 Célébrations (non-fiction)
2002 La Journal Extime (non-fiction)
2004 Le bonheur en Allemagne? (non-fiction)
2006 Les vertes lectures (on children’s literature)
2010 Voyages et paysages (selections)
2011 Je m’avance masqué : entretiens avec Michel Martin-Roland
2015 Lettres parlées à son ami allemand Hellmut Waller