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Someone I Loved [Hardcover]

Anna Gavalda , Catherine Evans (Translator)
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: £6.99
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Book Description

14 May 2012
How long does it take to forget the smell of someone who loved you? And when do you stop loving them? When Chloe's husband leaves her and their children for another woman, she is devastated. Unexpectedly, it's her usually distant father-in-law who comes to Chloe's aid, both with practical help and his personal wisdom on life and love.In this beautifully crafted novella, Anna Gavalda poignantly explores the fragility of human relationships.

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Someone I Loved + I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere + Consolation
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 125 pages
  • Publisher: Gallic Books; 1st edition (14 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1908313021
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908313027
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 18.6 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 339,467 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


Gavalda writes warm-hearted fiction with plenty of emotion, culture and thoughtfulness --Telegraph

Gavalda sees through ordinary appearances to people's hidden longings - A gifted literary stylist. --Vogue

Gavalda's talent for writing and her gift for dialogue make reading her work a delight --World Literature Today

About the Author

Anna Gavalda is one of the most acclaimed authors writing in French today. Her books are published in over thirty languages and and include: Hunting and Gathering, I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere and Consolation.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant! 17 Nov 2004
By Deborah
This is the kind of book that manages to express your own feelings better than yourself. It's astounding how Gavalda conveys all the feelings, smells, sights, etc in such a powerful way that really makes you believe you're part of the novel. Nothing out of the ordinary happens, but somehow, you can't put it down. Adds perspective, depth and insight to otherwise ordinary situations. Through the eyes of Chloe's father in law, you're finally faced to decide whether Chloe's husband's choice is coward or brave, whether you blame him or forgive him. Get your hands on this book as soon as you can, you will not regret it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a tale of love 10 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Chloe has been left by her husband for another woman and is taking refuge with her father in law at his country cottage with her two young children. What develops is a dialogue between Chloe and her father in law, where he delves into the past and a love affair that reveals a rather different side to his seemingly cold self. Well written and moving.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down 23 Sep 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A strange beginning but once I got into its rythmn, I couldn't put it down. Realistic description of human nature.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A novella of conversation 16 July 2012
By Curiosity Killed The Bookworm TOP 500 REVIEWER
Chloé's husband has left her and their children for another woman. She is angry and confused but her father-in-law (or would that be ex father-in-law?), Pierre, comes to the rescue and whisks her away from it all. They have never been close, Pierre generally quiet in her presence but as they talk and argue, she learns so much more about him, and how sometimes you can't help who you loved.

Someone I Loved is a novella composed mostly of conversations, starting with a car journey and little snippets of everyday life that Gavalda does so well. Soon Chloé's betrayal is revealed and her awkward relationship with Pierre grows into a confidant. The speech is unattributed, no he said, she said, and the prose is sparse, all adding to the conversational tone. At one point, there is speech within speech and it all got a bit confusing, but it is an intimate little look into someone's life through what they decide to tell another.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Devastating 16 May 2005
By Nathaniel Horn - Published on
What a wonderful, piercing book. It is basically a conversation between the daughter-in-law and her father-in-law, first starting with the pain she is experiencing from the betrayal of his son. Then he unexpectedly begins to open up, revealing a most astonishing relationship that he had in his younger years. It is all the more startling because the author used the "Old Bastard" as the vehicle for this beautiful tale. There are many cautionary lessons in the narrative but, in the end, it was the emotional impact that I was left with. Very creative. Gavalda, a French woman, has such a lovely way of imbuing men with undeserved humanity. It turned out to be different than I expected. I don't think that I'll ever again mutter under my breath "Damned French". It was short. When I got half way through it, it started over again, in French! It was hard to get into at first, then it caught on. If I had not luckily first read the flaps I would not have even understood the context of the narrative. It moved me deeply. By the time I finished it I was in disarray and all choked up. I am anxiously looking forward to reading her other novels.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, unsatisfying ending 22 Jun 2005
By Bearette24 - Published on
This is the story of a woman who's just been abandoned by her husband, and you think it will be about that betrayal, but no. She ends up taking a trip with her father-in-law and her own daughter (who is young, and only appears once or twice) and they have a long, fascinating conversation about all the father-in-law's buried emotion for a woman he fell in love with while he was married to someone else.

The book is mostly dialogue, without tags, which sometimes bothers me, but didn't here. I loved Gavalda's short story collection, "I Wish Someone Were Waiting For Me Somewhere," and this novel displays the same gifts. She cuts to the emotional heart of the matter without sentimentality, and paints beautiful word-pictures.

That said, I thought the book ended on a flat note. After thinking about it, I knew what Gavalda was trying to express, but it just wasn't satisfying. It didn't resolve anything and it didn't make as vivid an impression as the other images and emotions in the book.

Still, it is worth reading, especially if you liked her short-story collection.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yes, A Love Story 21 Aug 2013
By James W. Fonseca - Published on
In this French translation, a young wife has just found out that her husband has packed his bags and left her and their two daughters for another woman. Shocked, she travels with her (soon-to-be-ex) father-in-law to a family vacation cabin to recover. The father-in-law has always been stern, judgmental and non-communicative to her. At the cabin we hear a wonderful love story but it's not the one we would have expected.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful 13 Dec 2010
By Miklos C. Kiss - Published on
I liked the way this book explored the motiviations, consequences, and aftermath of puruing or not pursuing romantic love. Like all French thinkers on the subject, the effects on the children are glossed over in the selfishness of pursuing personal fullfillment of romantic desires. Yes, there is some courage to pursuing romantic love and ditching your family, however why can't people wait until the kids are grown?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely, poetic prose 1 Feb 2010
By Bluestalking Reader - Published on
"Every thought drew me closer to the bottom. I was so tired. I shut my eyes. I dreamed that he had arrived. There was the sound of the engine in the courtyard, he sat down next to me, he kissed me and put his finger on my lips in order to surprise the girls. I can still feel his tenderness on my neck, his voice, his warmth, the smell of his skin, it's all there.

It's all there...

All I have to do is think about it...

How long does it take to forget the odor of someone who loved you? How long until you stop loving?

If only someone would give me an hourglass."

- from Someone I Loved

Anna Gavalda is one of those fantastic writers no one seems to know about. Maybe that's because not all her novels are translated from her native French into English. But in France she's certainly well-known.

Her short novel Someone I Loved is poetic, gorgeous, all those words of praise reviewers use, yet also a bit unexpected, with a surprising revelation that adds so much to the plot. The novel is of course heart-wrenching, something the French do well.

Main character ChloŽ and her two little children go to stay with her father-in-law after ChloŽ's husband walks out on her for another woman. At first seeming like a strike out of the blue, in hindsight ChloŽ sees all the clues were there: the late nights at the office, the vacancy and pained looks on his face, the withdrawal, etc.

Presuming his distant attitude and quick anger, ChloŽ had never been comfortable with her father-in-law, and it isn't clear why, exactly, she's gone to live with him rather than someone in her own family. Perhaps it was because he was the closest link to Adrien, her estranged husband. But as the days go by he begins to open up, sharing his own life story with ChloŽ, in an effort to prove to her she can survive this, and can go on, for the sake of her daughters.

The result, a resoundingly beautiful novel.
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