Already a bestseller in several countries, this enchanting novel about a collection of misfits in Paris is quirky, poignant and unputdownable - Gavalda is a new young literary star.
Born in 1970, Anna Gavalda was a teacher whose collection of stories, I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere, shot her to fame. Her work, including another short novel, has been translated into thirty-six languages. The mother of two small children, she lives and writes just outside Paris.
This second novel by best-selling French author Gavalda (Someone I Loved) is a slow boil; its choppy style makes its length (almost 500 pages) daunting. But soon it's rolling along and proves itself to be one of the more lighthearted books to deal with suicide, addiction, eating disorders, poverty, and abandonment. While it follows almost every cliched formula relating to youth, art, and love--all compounded by the romantic Parisian setting (so many picnics!)--and sometimes ventures into forced dialog, it establishes a very real dynamic among its main characters: Camille, the intellectual artist waif; Philibert, the stuttering young aristocrat who rescues her from a freezing garret; Franck, the angry, overburdened young chef; and Paulette, Franck's ailing grandmother. This impromptu family lives and grows together in an old apartment that becomes the chambered heart of the novel. Even if you know exactly where the sentimental plot is headed, you want to make the trip with these people and believe in their particular brand of fairy tale. Recommended for public libraries.--Prudence Peiffer, Cambridge, MA Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Love cures all that ails the troubled trio of no-hopers in this sentimental second novel by French literary sensation Gavalda (Someone I Loved; I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere). Camille, a talented artist exhausted by ennui and anorexia, cleans offices at night and cowers in a shabby garret by day. Philibert, the fastidious scion of a titled family, peddles museum postcards while squatting in his dead grandmother's Parisian manse, waiting for her estate to be settled. Philibert's roommate, Franck, a talented (and womanizing) chef with ambition to burn, motorcycles once a week to look in on his stubborn, ailing grandmother Paulette, an inmate at a retirement home. When Philibert finds Camille deathly ill one day, he rescues her from her icy garret and deposits her in his shabby but spacious home. Franck and Camille take an immediate dislike to each other, a sure sign that they're bound to fall in love-which happens, cutely, after they liberate Paulette. That's when, for the first time, each and every one of them felt like they belonged to a real family. Gavalda's comically implausible and comfortably predictable novel of misfits is a Gallic charmer anchored by breezy and poignant storytelling. (Apr.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Enjoyable, well-paced and engaging -- Lucille Houston * Times
Literary Supplement *
Like Amelie, Hunting and Gathering stops at nothing to make the reader feel good. Reading it reminded me of tucking into one of those beautifully constructed little cakes that you see in the windows of elegant French patisseries * Sunday Telegraph *
A charming, romantic - and very French - novel -- Rev'd Amber Pearson * Daily Mail *
An elegant, ironic tale.. this will be a classic * Cosmopolitan *
Gavalda's ability to reinvent the will-they-won't-they love story makes this a refreshing five-star read with real bite * Eve *