The Mercy of God

The Mercy of God (French: La Pitié de Dieu) is a 1961 novel by the French writer Jean Cau. It tells the story of four murderers—a doctor, a boxer, a workman and a gambler—who share a prison cell and tell their respective stories. An English translation by Richard Howard was published in 1963.[1]

The Mercy of God
AuthorJean Cau
Original titleLa Pitié de Dieu
TranslatorRichard Howard
PublisherÉditions Gallimard
Publication date
29 September 1961
Published in English

The novel was awarded the Prix Goncourt.[2]


Hans Koningsberger of The Saturday Review called the book "a splendid novel", and wrote: "The tradition of the book is very Sartrian and very French[.] Cau has continued and greatly contributed to this pattern rather than emulated it. The formula may sound pat, the book is fresh and original." The critic continued: "I objected, at least in this translation, to the similarity in speech between four men of such vastly different background, but, apart from that—a minor point—this novel deserves nothing but praise."[3]


  1. ^ "The mercy of God". WorldCat. Retrieved 2015-08-12. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Denis, Jeambar (2003-05-15). "Jean Cau sur le pont". L'Express (in French). Retrieved 2015-08-12. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Koningsberger, Hans (1963-06-03). "Murderers All". The Saturday Review. p. 25. Retrieved 2015-08-12. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

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