Hailed by Voici as "a distant descendant of Dorothy Parker," prize-winning Anna Gavalda has caused an international sensation with this dazzling collection of short stories selling over 700,000 copies in her native France. With arresting naturalism, a lively variety of perspectives, Gavalda writes simply–and beautifully–of human beings longing to connect. Gavalda has a knack for capturing our inner as well as our outer dialogues with perfect pitch, provoking reflection, pain, and laughter in equal measure. The stories in I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere are as wicked as they are insightful, as stylish as they are sparse, as fiercely unsentimental as they are emotionally wrought.
In a nutshell:
I liked it: x Yes No
For people who like: French literature, short stories about human relationships of any kind
I was going to read this book for “Paris in July” but then I never got around to doing it during summer. But better late than never. I have never read anything by Anna Gavalda, but this little book with short stories turned me into a fan.
Courting Rituals of the Saint-Germain-des-Prés (Petites pratiques germanopratines)
A very short story about a chance encounter, the following dinner and a wrong glance at the wrong time that breaks the deal. I loved it. We don’t know whether the deal breaker came as a welcome excuse or not, but it certainly shows that even a moment as short as a nanosecond can ruin your evening.
The German title of this story “Ungewollter Schwangerschaftsabbruch” (Unwanted termination of pregnancy) gives a much clearer hint as to what happens in this story. It made me uncomfortable from page 1 and I checked the original title to see whether the German or the English translator took some liberty here. In fact, it was the English one, as the original title is I.I.G. which, I suppose, stands for “Interruption Involontaire de Grossesse” which means “involuntary interruption of pregnancy”. From the start I knew where this was going, however, the end is even worse than I imagined.
This Man and This Woman (Cet homme et cette femme)
On only three and a half pages we learn about the rather dreadful life of a rich couple. They are lost in their own trains of thought. Pretty frightening!
The Opel Touch (The Opel Touch)
A young student who works in a shop to make some money on the side is having a crisis due to the lack of love in her life. Her sister comes to the rescue. “The Opel Touch” is such a good title for this story. I think we all know those situations and can relate.
While I was reading this story I was wondering continuously whether it would have a good or bad ending. I wanted it to end well so badly. Only the last line gives us some sort of clue.
Another good story about the rivalry between brothers, the one a recruit on home leave, the other a golden boy, about a girl. The ending is slightly different from what you might expect. Oh, btw, the book title is taken from this story.
Lead Story (Le fait du jour)
This is about a man who finds out that he is responsible for a big traffic accident with many people dead or injured. Most of the stories in the book are open ended and as far as I am concerned this is a good thing. The events and reflections are already bad enough, I wouldn’t want to know any consequences.
Definitely a spin on the “woman gets raped” topic. I liked the calmness and courage very much in which the woman gets her revenge on the rapists.
OMG, what a fun story! I can just imagine the scene. Again, the open end becomes the story, you wouldn’t want to see the fit the boy’s father will go into in the morning. What do we learn from this story? Even though it might decrease your chances to cop off better take the old Vauxhall than your dad’s Jaguar to a party.
For Years (Pendant des années)
A very melancholic story about two ex-lovers who meet again after twelve years.
Again this is about a blossoming love and how the two people get together. I really liked the main character and his two sisters. The whole story is quite realistic, too. Why “Clic-Clac”? It’s the name of the newly bought IKEA sofa-bed.
An author (presumably AG herself) tries to sell her book with short stories to a publishing house. The invitation to meet the publisher turns out to be a little different than what she expected.
I was so pleased with those stories that I swapped the original French version and will give it a go. I think the stories are short enough that I will be able to stick to one at a time and the French won’t be so convoluted and complicated that it will be too hard to understand. Wow, this will be the first time in about 20 years for me to read a French book, I am really looking forward to that.
All images from wikipedia
Product info and buy link :
|Title||I wish someone were waiting for me somewhere|
|I got this book from||my German swap site for “Paris in July” but never got around to reading it then|
|Buy link||Buy I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere|
|More info||Interview with Anna Gavalda in French (but dubbed German)|
Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.