Anna Gavalda's Someone I Loved
is a hauntingly intimate look at the intolerably painful, yet occasionally valuable consequences that adultery can have on a marriage and the individuals involved. Readers familiar with I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere
, Gavalda's stunning collection of short stories, will once again be charmed by her deceptively simple prose, while new fans will quickly fall under the spell of this enchanting literary voice.
Once he discovers that his son Adrien has left his wife Chloe, along with their two adorable daughters, the normally removed Pierre Dippel steps in to rescue the girls, driving them from Paris to his rustic country house for some much needed rest and reflection. While the girls watch cartoons and run around in "You're a Barbie Girl" sneakers, Chloe and Pierre discover a bond they never knew existed. As Chloe comes to terms with her abandonment, Pierre confesses his own adulterous affair, years earlier, with a translator living in Hong Kong. In the shadow of the story is Suzanne, Pierre's status-conscious wife who pardoned his actions in order to live a socially-acceptable life. As the days go on and the hours get later, it becomes apparent that Pierre is filled with regret over losing the one woman he ever truly loved ("Every day you have to fight a bit. A little bit each day, with the courage to be yourself, to decide to be happ--..."), while Chloe is forced to confront the raw anger she feels over losing the life she had grown to love.
Short in length, yet long in substance, Someone I Loved ends like most great love affairs, forever leaving you wanting just one more moment. --Gisele Toueg
From Publishers Weekly
Gavalda's slim second novel, published here in back-to-back English and French versions, tells a spare, dialogue-based tale of a young, abandoned wife. Chloé, mother of two, is in shock after her husband, Adrien, leaves her for another woman. In an improbable move, her laconic father-in-law, Pierre, rescues her, driving Chloé and her daughters to his country house, where they spend a few surprisingly therapeutic days together. While in the country, Pierre gives Chloé an extended account of an extramarital affair of his own. His dalliance was based on real love, and this, ironically, comforts Chloé. Gavalda's prose style is refreshingly elliptical, though often the reader longs for more than a scrap of exposition. At the book's best moments, mundane details mingle with Chloé's despair to create an even deeper sadness: while cooking dinner with Pierre, Chloé reflects, "I cried, thinking occasionally about how the spaghetti was going to be inedible if I didn't add some oil." But Gavalda's prose can also lurch clumsily between triteness and sarcasm: "Go to the ends of the earth, clamber over thickets, hedges, ditches, get a stuffy nose, cross old Marcel's courtyard, and watch Teletoons while eating strawberry-flavored marshmallows. Sometimes, life is wonderful...." Such awkward pathos weighs down Gavalda's airy tale. (Apr. 5)
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