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Delicacy: A Novel Paperback – February 14, 2012

3.9 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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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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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 (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #996,543 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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I deeply enjoyed this book and found it meaningful and thought provoking while being quirky and fun. The premise sounds like the book would be dramatic and depressing, but while there were certainly sad moments, overall it was amusing and incredibly touching. This is a really beautifully written book with a certain poetry to some of the sentences that made me go back and read them again.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very cute little read.
It flowed very well and the references in between chapters were a nice little addition.
It read like a screenplay, which it ended up becoming, by the author himself.
I have yet to see the movie but the book was, like the title, a delight.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I recently discovered Amazon's list of 100 Best Books 2012 and ordered six of the novels cited including Delicacy. Delicacy is a very nice romance. It takes place in Paris. It's very French, so some of the behaviors are rather odd, but I liked it anyway. It's short, but it has some 115 chapters, several of which are ultra brief, clever and amusing, e.g., Chapter 38 "Code for the Door to Markus's Building A9624"
There are a number of very nice romantic moments, a number of funny ones, a few tragic ones. Altogether a nice story. It has won a number of French awards and sold a ton of books there.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My goodness! All the awards, all the acclaim, all the hype - and it's all true! I can honestly say I've not read a novel like it, and I've only read the translation. If only my French were good enough to have allowed me to read this charming story in its original language. To synopsise the story - Natalie meets and falls in love with Francois, loses him, grieves, survives, returns to work, returns to life, and somehow manages to find love again - makes it all sound so trite and mundane while this novel is anything but that! David Foenkinos writes like no other in this novel. He manages to convey emotions like joy and sorrow and pain and hope with such astonishing intensity and clarity, and he does it all in a half a sentence! Oh so French, non? Honestly, there were times when I'd reread a sentence several times over because I just couldn't believe how...perfect!!... it was. The translator on this novel, Bruce Benderson, should take a bow. If you love language, and like to laugh, and like to feel, and want to believe in love again, and in the power we have to restore one another, then please read this novel. I only hope you like it as much as I did.
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