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French Leave Paperback – April 26, 2011

5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Anna Gavalda is an internationally acclaimed bestselling author, widely regarded as one of France's newest literary stars. A former high-school French teacher and mother of two, she lives outside of Paris.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 108 pages
  • Publisher: Europa Editions; 1 edition (April 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609450051
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609450052
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,201,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By nana.m on June 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
I loved the book. Its about simple things in life that make it beautiful. The subtlety of relationships. The style of writing simple and smooth. Reads in one breath. and the phrases are so real to life and make you rethink your values. Brother and sisters run away from a wedding of a relative to seek a gulp of freedom.They run away from relationships that are so untrue, lack understanding and love. Even though they act against everybody's understanding, and realize that they will have to go back, where they will be judged, they choose to go and enjoy this breath of freedom.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Biblibio VINE VOICE on October 15, 2011
Format: Paperback
I wish I could say that I enjoyed "French Leave". In fact, I wish I could say that Anna Gavalda had written the book I thought she had written - an homage to sibling relationships and the quieter joys in life. But I can't. "French Leave" is the kind of book you can't quite immerse yourself in (at just over a hundred pages, it's certainly no more than a novella) and isn't particularly memorable. Only two days after completing it, I feel like the events of the story are slipping away, perhaps because there simply AREN'T any. See, "French Leave" is written like a writing exercise - wonderful in theory but woefully lacking in reality.

I loved the idea of "French Leave". Not nearly enough books are written about sibling relationships and family ties among the kids. Because of the length of "French Leave", however, there's nothing much beyond the premise. Even the book summary acknowledges this - "French Leave" is about a break from reality and the subsequent "return" to normalcy.

And yet it isn't. "French Leave" has far more subtleties and nuances than that simple description will provide you with. It presents the grown-up children in a realistic and wonderfully sympathetic manner. I related with the sibling relationships, even if I didn't care much for the characters themselves. Because of the length, however, there's no way to really get a feel for anything. You dip in, you dip out. What did these characters do or learn in the course of "French Leave"'s pages? Did anything happen?

A resounding no.

It could have been worse. Gavalda's writing is pleasant (if somewhat bland - again, most likely due to the story length) and the pacing somewhat erratic.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Alexandra Henshel VINE VOICE on May 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
I can't help but feel that maybe I was either expecting too much or too little from this, or that something got lost in the translation from French, but I don't see why this was such a massive European bestseller and so highly praised.
Bohemian bourgeois siblings abandon their family (and one brother's striving, annoying wife) at a wedding, and set off on a road trip to meet up with another brother, who is working as a guide at a chateau. The 2 sisters and 2 brothers have a fun weekend, and... that's the book.
It's one of those books where I feel like the failure is mine somehow- if so many people love it, I must be missing something (see: A Visit from The Good Squad, by Jennifer Egan, or Room by Emma Donohue- oh, no, you can't, because despite starting them both about 5 times, I could not force myself to finish them). At least this was very short?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Marty on September 3, 2012
Format: Paperback
A funny, touching, just the right length story, caring family relationships. Sister in law was a hoot. Don't understand what the negative reviewers were expecting.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This small Anna Gavalda book is light, funny and wise. It was a joy to read about the brothers and the sisters just went away from
the drags of every day life and tried to recreate a part of their youth.
Good read between something more serious.
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