Daily Archives: March 25, 2009

Ritournelle de la Faim by Jean Le Clezio

I’m afraid Ritournelle de la Faim is available only in French at this point. It’s a depressing Word War II novel about a teenage girl whose great uncle dreams of the Ile Maurice he left as a young man – and adores her (that part is very sweet and not at all depressing!) Her irresponsible family is surrounded by a motley crew of Mauritian emigres;  she befriends an arrogant and scheming Russian emigre and falls in love with a French Jew. She ends up taking care of her parents during the war and is eventually reunited with her lover. A sad book with fine emotional nuances, but a tad slow-moving and dark for my taste

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Deaf Sentence by David Lodge

By the always funny and understated David Lodge, Deaf Sentence starts out as a simple, perhaps superficial story about middle-aged deafness with hilarious observations about the indignities of miscommunications but veers into the heartbreak of helping aging parents, balanced by the joys and beauty of simple things. Very meditative and zen by the end, after you enjoy the pure fun and silliness of the first 100 pages.

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