Review #55: French Leave

French Leave

by

Anna GAVALDA

108 pages

Publication: April 26, 2011 – Europa Editions

This book counts for

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK

This is a very quick read, it took me about an hour, a nice pleasant summer read I would say. It  has a flow to it, and I enjoyed the characters as they break from their conventional daily lives to go back to the beauty and simplicity of spontaneous sibling life, far from the requirements of the city and its duties. The dialogues sound very authentic, even in translation. I have to admit I did not find in it the depth I found in the 2 other books published by Europa I read before that – the 2 books by Murielle Barbey: The Elegance of the Hedgehog and Gourmet Rhapsody.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT

Simon, Garance and Lola flee a family wedding that promises to be dull to visit their younger brother, Vincent, who is working as a guide at a château in the heart of the charming Tours countryside. For a few hours, they forget about kids, spouses, work and the many demands adulthood makes upon them and lose themselves in a day of laughter, teasing, and memories. As simply and as spontaneously as the adventure began, it ends. All four return to their everyday lives, carrying with them the magic of their brief reunion. They are stronger now, and happier, for having rediscovered the ties that bind them [Goodreads]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anna Gavalda is a French teacher and award-winning novelist.

Referred to by Voici magazine as “a distant descendant of Dorothy Parker”, Anna Gavalda was born in an upper-class suburb of Paris. While working as French teacher in high school, a collection of her short stories was first published in 1999 under the title “Je voudrais que quelqu’un m’attende quelque part” that met with both critical acclaim and commercial success, selling more than three-quarters of a million copies in her native France and winning the 2000 “Grand Prix RTL-Lire.” The book was translated into numerous languages including in English and sold in twenty-seven countries. It was published to acclaim in North America in 2003 as “I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere.” The book received much praise and is a library and school selection worldwide in several languages.

Gavalda’s first novel, Je l’aimais (Someone I Loved) was published in France in February 2002 and later that year in English. Inspired by the failure of her own marriage, it too was a major literary success and a bestseller and was followed by the short (96 pages) juvenile novel 35 kilos d’espoir (95 Pounds of Hope) that she said she wrote “to pay tribute to those of my students who were dunces in school but otherwise fantastic people”.

In 2004, her third novel, “Ensemble c’est tout,” focused on the lives of four people living in an apartment house: a struggling young artist who works as an office cleaner at night, a young aristocrat misfit, a cook, and an elderly grandmother. The 600-page book is a bestseller in France and has been translated into English as Hunting and Gathering.

As of 2007, her three books have sold more than 3 million copies in France. Ensemble c’est tout was made into a successful movie in 2007 by Claude Berri, with Audrey Tautou and Guillaume Canet. The adaptation of her first novel, Je l’aimais, with Daniel Auteuil and Marie-Josée Croze, was filmed in 2009 by Zabou Breitman.

Divorced, and the mother of two, Gavalda lives in the city of Melun, Seine-et-Marne, about 50 km southeast of Paris. In addition to writing novels, she also contributes to Elle magazine. [Goodreads]

HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK YET?
OR ANY OTHER BOOK BY ANNA GAVALDA?
DO YOU FEEL LIKE READING THIS BOOK?
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS  IN A COMMENT PLEASE

3 thoughts on “Review #55: French Leave

  1. Pingback: July 2011 Wrap Up « Words And Peace

  2. Pingback: A View from Here: France | BookerTalk

  3. Pingback: Read or skip #3 | Words And Peace

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