Archive | January, 2012

My quote makes it onto the Rules of Civility paperback!

24 Jan

Sometimes when I read reviews, I wonder if the reviewer has sat there and slogged their guts out to write a sentence packed with enough magical gusto (and hyperbolic falsehoods) to guarantee a hallowed place within the pages of a published book. But judging by the joy this copy of Rules of Civility gave me when it arrived last week, I can sort of understand their motives… (I wrote the Stylist quotes!).

Anyway this is an ace book so I wasn’t lying about its greatness. We chose it as a book club title before Christmas and it went down a storm (whereas The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake did NOT…). Click here to read my review. And read the book, yeah?

Delicacy by David Foenkinos: quirky Frenchness at its best [mini review]

23 Jan

This tragicomique smasher from French author David Foenkinos made a massive impact in his home country, selling more than 470,000 copies and winning nominations for all five of the major literary prizes in France. A regular feature star of French ELLE magazine, the author is fast establishing himself as a key member of Europe’s literati.

          

La Delicatesse (Delicacy) is a quirky telling of the unlikely love story between a beautiful young widow (Nathalie) and her unattractive, dry-witted Swedish co-worker (Markus). It’s a poignant and often surprisingly funny tale of the heart and all its complexities, as an unplanned kiss leads to an unusual love affair. Told in chapters separated by off-beat lists and incidental titbits, ranging from uplifting aphorisms to risotto recipes and even John Lennon’s Discography If He Hadn’t Died in 1980, it keeps a playful feel throughout which I really liked. Occasionally the randomness feels a little forced – I found the the footnotes particularly jarring as they often gave nothing at all to the plot.

Stephane Foenkinos, Francois Damiens, Audrey Tautou, David Foenkinos@ the Delicatesse premiere

That said, with the film adaptation (La Delicatesse) hitting British cinemas in early 2012, and a certain Mademoiselle Tautou taking the lead role, the literary spotlight is set to shine on this little gem. Keeping it well and truly dans la famille, Foenkinos’ brother Stephane directs the French flick. Was it written with a screenplay in mind? With a chapter written in script, and Tautou mentioned as the actress playing Nathalie, it seems more than a happy coincidence. How does it compare to Tautou’s most famous French love story, Amelie? Written with a similarly irresistible charm and lightness but given weight by grief and broken hearts, Delicacy reads like an Amelie for grown-ups.

[Adapted version of my review that appeared in Stylist magazine]

Has anyone seen the film yet??