The novel “Vol du nuit” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was selected for the 17th World Biennials of Art Bookbinding. All about the contest

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About the author, Antoine de SAINT-EXUPÉRY

Descendant of one of the oldest families in France, Saint-Exupéry was born in Lyon on June 29, 1900. Orphaned father from the age of 4, he received a classical training in religious institutes. He soon showed a taste for mechanics as well as poetry. With a bachelor’s degree, he failed the entrance exam to the Ecole Navale and then took courses in architecture. In 1921 he obtained to do his military service in Strasbourg, in the Air Force.

From now on, his passion for aviation will bind his destiny. Faced with opposition from his fiancée’s family, he gave up a career in the Air Force. However, he flies whenever he has the chance. In 1926, he was hired by the aviation company Latécoère where he joined a legendary team like Mermoz and under the rule of Daurat, he traveled the sacred line that connects Toulouse to Dakar. In 1929, St. Exupéry left for South America to study with Mermoz and Guillaumet the creation of new airlines.

In 1931 he published Vol de nuit (prefaced by André Gide), which met with considerable success. Tracing the opening by new routes despite storms and mountains, this story reflects the experience of the author, director since 1929 of the Argentine Aéropostale. Saint-Exupéry then personally experiences these human resonances of the profession (from the responsibilities of a leader, to the camaraderie and heroism of the team) that we find in Night Flight.

For this work he won the Prix Fémina in 1931, and the same year married an Argentine, Consuelo Suncin. In 1939, he became a war pilot. In 1944, his plane was shot down and lost in the Mediterranean Sea.

About the novel, VOL DE NUIT

Head of an airmail company, Rivière was an inflexible man. Ignoring the individual interest of pilots, its sole purpose is to prove that the plane is a faster way than the train to carry mail. For this, night flights must be imposed even if they are considered extremely dangerous. No matter! Rivière did not hesitate to commit the lives of his men. Rivière thus succeeds in his enterprise, but at what price! There are many accidents.

Among the victims, Fabien, a pilot bringing mail from Patagonia to Buenos Aires who, caught in a storm, will sink for attempting the feat. This is the duty of the River pilots who must remain faithful to their mission, ignoring fear. The next day, Rivière, despite the death of a crew, will not cancel any flight.