Book review: French Leave by Anna Gavalda

6 Mar

When Garance and her siblings, Simon and Lola, find themselves trapped in the French countryside at a family wedding with their uppity, joy-killing sister-in-law, they quickly decide to make a stealthy escape and flee to visit their youngest brother, Vincent, who is working as a guide at a rural château. The four spend the afternoon together, rediscovering in their reunion the comfort and magic to be found inside their familial bonds.

Spanning one lovely, sleepy summer day, Anna Gavalda’s novel French Leave is a tender, bittersweet dreamscape of childhood memories, laughter, and the intimacy that only siblings can know. At 144 pages, this is a quick, spare novel, as full of terroir as any French wine. As poignant as it is melancholy, Gavalda’s gentle writing is spot-on in tone and pace, the just-right complement to its characters and subject matter.

Perfect for a warm, sunny Sunday morning – preferably in the heart of the French countryside, if you can swing it – French Leave is a small, charming getaway from the hectic everyday, a reminder that every once in a while, we must escape back into the arms of the past, and into the hearts of those who knew us when finding happiness was as simple as being together.

* * * * * * * *

This book will be published by Europa Editions in May 2011. For more information about the author or this novel, visit the publisher’s website. Purchasing this book from an independent bookseller will make you look more cultured and keep me in bottles of Sav  Blanc as an IndieBound affiliate (I wish). As always, happy reading.

FTC Disclosure: This review was based on a copy of the book that I received from the publisher.

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3 Responses to “Book review: French Leave by Anna Gavalda”

  1. tysdaddy March 6, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    This does sound like a fun, quick read. My daughter is taking French this year. Is there much in here she’ll find interesting?

    • Sarah P. Miller March 13, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

      Brian, there’s very little French, though the book does capture the essence of France quite well. This may be too nostalgic for young adults, but I’d be happy to send you my copy, if your daughter would like to give it a try. Email me.

  2. Camille March 8, 2011 at 5:15 am #

    A novel about a family actually enjoying each other’s company?! How refreshing. :}

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