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Camille is doing her best to disappear. She barely eats, works at night as a cleaner and lives in a tiny attic room. Downstairs in a beautiful, ornate apartment, lives Philibert Marquet de la Durbelliere, a shy, erudite, upper-class man with an unlikely flatmate in the shape of the foul-mouthed but talented chef, Franck. One freezing evening Philibert overcomes his excruciating reitcence to rescue Camille, unconscious, from her garret and bring her into his home. As she recovers Camille learns more about Philibert; about Franck and his guilt for his beloved but fragile grandmother Paulette, who is all he has left in the world; and about herself. And slowly, this curious quartet of misfits all discover the importance of food, friendship and love.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099494072
ISBN-10: 0099494078
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 30mm)
Pages: 480
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 7-Jun-2007
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » Three oddballs form an alternative family in Paris; its warm heart and youthful vibe have made Gavalda's novel, originally published in France in 2004, a bestseller in that country and elsewhere.Camille Fauque has hit rock-bottom, living on the streets, when a friend finds her shelter: a tiny maid's room in a grand old building in a ritzy Paris neighborhood. The skeletal 26-year-old is weighed down by life's miseries; once a talented artist, she now cleans offices after hours. Her salvation is a neighbor. The timid, gangly, stammering Philibert is no better at coping with life than Camille (he sells postcards), but the kind-hearted aristocrat recognizes a damsel in distress and installs her in his magnificent apartment, which he's guarding until an inheritance battle is resolved. Philibert already has one roommate, who uses the place just to bed his many girlfriends. Franck Lestafier is a talented if inarticulate saucier at a top-of-the-line restaurant; he cares only for his motorbike and his grandmother Paulette, who raised him. The frail old lady has just been moved into a retirement home, which she hates, and Franck finds his weekly visits there torture. Nor is he happy about the arrival of Camille: "She's skinny, stupid, pretentious, and as weird as my roommate." The thaw begins with their shared enjoyment of a Marvin Gaye album. Then Franck has her help out at the restaurant on New Year's Eve: She's a sensation. Only much later, in long monologues, will Franck and Camille reveal their troubled pasts. The "family" becomes complete when Camille moves sweet-natured Paulette in with them; she has quit her job to be a caregiver (she's also started drawing again). Will Franck and Camille become lovers? Of course, but Gavalda (Someone I Loved, 2005, etc.) rings changes on this predictable outcome, and sentimentality is held in check by Franck's habitual gruff profanity.A charming account of achieving happiness against the odds. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Anna Gavalda

Born in 1970, Anna Gavalda was a teacher whose collection of stories, I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere, shot her to fame (published in Vintage together with her novella, Someone I Loved). Her novel Hunting and Gathering (Ensemble c'est tout) was a bestseller in several countries, selling over two million copies, and was made into a film. She is also the author of the novel Consolation. Her books have been translated into thirty-six languages. The mother of two children, she lives and writes just outside Paris.

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