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Delicacy: A Novel Paperback – February 14, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Original edition (February 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062004360
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062004369
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #715,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, February 2012: David Foenkinos has been showered with accolades, including nominations for France’s top five literary awards, and here’s another: His new novel is one of the finest of the year. Sly and funny, with a dark patina that belies its nationality, Delicacy traces the relationship between Natalie, an ambitious young beauty, and Markus, a kind and bumbling introvert. She, suddenly widowed, seems untouchable; he has, as the French say, no game, but he manages to touch her anyway. We get the pleasure of watching it happen, and Foenkinos’s precise, insightful style makes us forget that these two are falling in love on the page and not right in front of us. Don't be fooled by the chick-lit cover or the forthcoming feature film starring Audrey "Amélie" Tautou. Delicacy isn't a bonbon, it's a main course--rich and nuanced and completely satisfying. --Mia Lipman

Review

“Delicate, funny, offbeat, and subtle...Foenkinos paces the novel well, breaking it up with songs, lists, footnotes, and other formal elements reminiscent of Nick Hornby or Rick Moody yet making them his own.” --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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Customer Reviews

It is absolutely inane!!!
Isabel Perlinski
Delicacy is a quirky and very French love story.
Julia Flyte
Technically the book is quick and easy to read.
Swirls

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By coachsandi on February 22, 2012
Format: Paperback
I don't normally write customer reviews, but I absolutely loved this book and do not want it to slip by unnoticed. As someone whose first husband died too young, I could totally relate to Natalie's sense that her life had lost meaning, and that nobody could ever replace him. When an unexpected relationship develops with a co-worker in such a natural yet surprising way, I could hardly put the book down.

I always love a well written book, and this one delighted me with its refreshing style and word choices that kept me reading phrases and sentences out loud to my husband. Since this was a translation from the French, I found myself wondering how the original could possibly work as well as this! Delicacy reeled me in from the first words, and never disappointed me right through the last sentence.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By las cosas on February 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
A bestseller in France, this book is the first novel ever nominated for all five major French literary prizes.

Plot is not the point of this short novel, which makes it unlikely that it will repeat that popular success in the United States. Which is unfortunate, because this book successfully explores the emotional lives of its characters. As a nation we in the United States are addicted to the plot, to the shifts and plunges of a story. And for those in search of that adrenalin hit, this book will disappoint. But it has definite pleasures, and those linger much longer than the mere attraction of a storyline.

Start with the title: delicacy. It is a word not used much in daily life, an old-fashioned word. But appealing, intriguing, somewhat remote and even mysterious. But easy to pass over as a book title.

The gentle narrative arc of this book concerns Natalie, a beautiful woman in her twenties and thirties who hesitantly falls in love and marries Francois. He is killed in a bicycle accident. Francois in her grief buries herself in her work for the Paris division of a Swedish research firm where she navigates the relationships with her boss, Charles, and a subordinate, Marcus. And that is about it for the plot.

It is in the examination of the nuances of emotions and desire that this book excels. While the plot is thin, the intricacies of interior dialog and the great space given characters to think and react is highly unusual in current bestseller fiction. When Marcus and Natalie awkwardly stumble through their individual protective shells in search of emotional stability, the descriptions are nuanced, unusual and yet the reader understands the narrative consistency and fidelity to what we have earlier learned of these characters.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bp2000 on February 21, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm not one to write reviews, but I was upset to see that this book had only garnered a one-star review. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found the author's writing style to be refreshing. It is a story woven from many perspectives of characters that are sometimes only passing through, and you feel an emotional attachment to each of them. The author is gifted with creativity and I truly felt like I was reading a work of art, up for interpretation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Unforgiven on February 26, 2012
Format: Paperback
This novel, written wonderfully by David Foenkinos in a beautiful, flowing prose style, is a story of love, loss, hope and learning to live again. The title is almost all you need to know about this book, for it is truly delicate in presentation, with both delicate characters and a delicate story. It is the story of Natalie, grieving from the loss of her husband, and Markus, a geeky, unassuming coworker of Natalie's. Peppered with factoids, anecdotes, song lyrics and verses of poetry, Delicacy is a touching and tender read. I recommend it highly to anyone who has ever dealt with loss and wondered how they could ever move on.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gan See Siong on June 13, 2013
Format: Paperback
I am not sure who did a better job, David Foekinos the French author or Bruce Benderson who translated the book.

There are subtle nuances, cultural relics that no matter how accurate, exact or excellent the translation, the translated text would not be able to capture.

I enjoy the book so much I am thinking of learning French so that I can appreciate the original text better.

Perhaps because it was originally in French, the translation can't help but retain the heat, the texture that defines what is French. Think French, you think French cuisine, macaron and dogs (in France, dogs are given equivalent status as human; they can seat in the plane, take train and sit as equal in restaurant) and the space or the time to breathe (in Singapore we take in gulps; `no time man, got to work').

Natalie is beautiful and intelligent. Life was perfect for her until her husband was killed in a traffic accident. She used work to numb the pain of loss and years later for no apparent reason, she kissed her colleague Markus impulsively. Markus wasn't the ideal novel type of `tall, dark and handsome'. Instead he was variably described as `ugly, `no body to look at', `limp as noodle'. Charles, Natalie's boss adores Natalie but was spurned and couldn't understand what Natalie sees in Markus. There is no great plot in the essentially book about finding romance in the strangest of places.

The chapters were short and interspersed with snippets such as text messages, song lyrics, train schedules, dictionary definitions, and excerpts from screenplays, facts and lists. The snippets were like cleansing your palette in wine tasting and fine dining. It allows you to move between courses (chapters) and appreciate the complex and varied flavours better.
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