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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OUTSTANDING
I haven't read a literary novel in years- literally. I almost always read non-fiction titles but felt compelled to purchase this novel after seeing the film (which I loved). I love the author's style, humour, and sense of fun. This is a sweet, feel-good delight! It is really touching, moving, and gives you the hope to love again.
Published on 18 April 2012 by LePapillon

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Something of a curates soufflé...
I started this book in much the same way as the main character - hopeful. It seemed so full of promise. Unfortunately, I very quickly found myself becoming irritated by the writing style, which reads like a cross between a movie script and a Twitter feed. Is it really necessary for a 250 page book to have 115 chapters? - Especially when some of them are made up of only...
Published 23 months ago by StevePowers


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OUTSTANDING, 18 April 2012
This review is from: Delicacy (Paperback)
I haven't read a literary novel in years- literally. I almost always read non-fiction titles but felt compelled to purchase this novel after seeing the film (which I loved). I love the author's style, humour, and sense of fun. This is a sweet, feel-good delight! It is really touching, moving, and gives you the hope to love again.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A triumph of style over substance, 5 April 2012
By 
Julia Flyte - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Delicacy (Paperback)
Delicacy is a quirky and very French love story. It's a slim book with an even slimmer plot. It's about a woman called Natalie who marries the love of her life and then loses him in an accident. She retreats into social isolation, throwing herself into her work. Her boss Charles is attracted to her, but she rebuffs his advances and then starts a tentative relationship with one of her staff members, a Swede named Markus. And that's pretty much it.

It took me a while to adjust to the writing style. The story is relayed in a very impersonal way, almost like a documentary. There are little footnotes and pauses in the story to tell us the ingredients for the dish the characters are eating at that moment or technical details about something that has been alluded to in passing. It's unusual and could have seemed pretentious, but instead it comes across as charming. At one point we are even told in a footnote who the author imagines would be playing two of the characters if this was a movie - and indeed, they are the same two actresses who have taken on those roles in the real life film of the book.

Initially I felt that the translation was somewhat clunky , but either it settled down or I got used to the writing style. And then about halfway through I realised that I was loving it. The tone is very droll - the closest way I can think to describe it is that it reads the way that films like Amelie [DVD] [2001] and Delicatessen [DVD] felt. It's like eating a macaroon: a delicate flavour, delicious sensation on your tongue, and then crunch! it's gone.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Something of a curates soufflé..., 24 Aug 2012
This review is from: Delicacy (Paperback)
I started this book in much the same way as the main character - hopeful. It seemed so full of promise. Unfortunately, I very quickly found myself becoming irritated by the writing style, which reads like a cross between a movie script and a Twitter feed. Is it really necessary for a 250 page book to have 115 chapters? - Especially when some of them are made up of only three or four words. I should have been forewarned by the footnote on the first page, where after saying "But she never ever felt nostalgia. That was something that was quite rare for Natalie" the author feels compelled to add a footnote saying "There's often a clear tendency for nostalgia in Natalies".

Even though the story is quite slight, there are plus points. The two main characters are quite well drawn, and the writing style is such that not only do you get to see their back story and motivation, but you get to see their thinking. Unfortunately, there are other characters who, for me, actively detracted from the book. Natalie's boss, Charles, in particular is supposed to be holding down a responsible position but acts in such a way that in real life, he would be in industrial tribunals and police investigations so fast his head would have been spinning. Considering the book is set within the last decade, he seems to have been drawn from the 1950's.

If you can put up with the staccato style, and are looking for something light and frothy to read on a weekend break, then this may be very much for you but if you are looking for a literary romance then, alas, you may be in for a disappointment - much in the style of a collapsed soufflé.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like an 'Amelie' for Grown-Ups?... Absolutely!, 23 April 2012
By 
Susie B - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Delicacy (Paperback)
Natalie and Francois meet by chance on the street; Francois says something complimentary to Natalie, they go for a drink and Francois thinks to himself that this is the girl he will marry. And they do get married; life is good and both Francois and Natalie are happy and fulfilled - that is until Francois gets knocked over while out jogging and dies a few days later, leaving Natalie stunned and totally bereft. (Please note -I am not trying to spoil the story, the reader learns that Francois dies very early on in the book).

When Natalie returns to her office three months later, her boss, Charles, lets her know that he finds her very attractive, but Natalie clearly explains to him that she is not interested in anyone else, and she really isn't - until one day some time later, on impulse, she passionately kisses a colleague, Markus, and then carries on as if nothing has happened. For Natalie cannot explain the kiss, there is nothing to say: "The kiss was like modern art". But for Markus, a tall, diffident Swedish young man with an endearing off-beat sense of humour, her kiss means everything and he sets out to win Natalie's heart.

This is a rather extraordinary novel and one which I thoroughly enjoyed - it says on the front copy of my edition that this book is like an 'Amelie' (Amelie [DVD] [2001]) for grown-ups and I would totally agree with that description. If you like well-ordered, sensible stories then you may find this book a little disconcerting, especially the very short chapters - some of them covering just a line or two; for example one chapter just informs the reader of the distance from Paris to Moscow; another lists the discography that John Lennon may have produced had he not died; and yet another gives examples of telephone numbers from another century. In fact reading this review back, I wonder whether if someone else had written it and I hadn't read the book, I might think this story would be rather too odd to enjoy - but it really isn't. I found this novel an absolutely charming, amusing and effortless read and, as it has now been made into a film, I shall look forward to seeing it on DVD.

4 Stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Charming and unexpectedly moving, 12 Aug 2012
This review is from: Delicacy (Paperback)
Author David Foenkinos has managed to create, in Delicacy, a novel that is both charming and sweet without being mushy or overly sentimental. The underlying sadness of the story adds a depth not usually present in novels with such pretty covers - a depth that Foenkinos demonstrates through deliberate prose and pleasingly short chapters that often end on a poignant or thought-provoking moment.

Little lists and facts make up some chapters, a charming diversion from the main story that suggest the wealth of life behind the fraction of it we are seeing in these pages.

At times the story lapses into 'standard' relationship drama, but Foenkinos always brings us back with moments of literary excellence: 'Every day near her had been the huge but surreptitious conquest of a veritable empire of the heart.' No words are wasted in this novel and there are several small and beautiful moments that really make you stop, put down the book for a moment, and think about what you have just read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Novel for the twitter generation, 11 Aug 2012
This review is from: Delicacy (Paperback)
A very quirky book, written for the twitter generation with lots of short chapters and short sentences. The style never lets you really settle down with it. Just go and see the film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Dictionaries stop where the heart starts", 7 Aug 2012
By 
Sam Quixote - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Delicacy (Paperback)
Francois meets Natalie. They fall in love and get married. Francois dies in an accident. Natalie is devastated. One day, years after Francois' death, she kisses one of her colleagues, Markus, on a whim. Could Markus be Natalie's lifeline back to love?

If I'd read that synopsis I would have said that no way would this be a novel I'd enjoy nor think it could possibly work, but having read the novel I can say "Delicacy" is a discovery for me - it's a really good novel. But it's more than a romance novel with nothing to offer but surface texture, its subject is what all great literary novels are concerned with: the human spirit and the human heart.

What makes someone love someone else? How does love happen? Both of Natalie's loves in the book are met by chance, and as for why, well, the novel doesn't really explain it. But who could? People just fall for other people. At one point, Natalie's boss Charles tries to make Natalie love him by mimicking her love Markus but of course it doesn't work. And it's not just looks, Markus is described throughout as odd looking, even ugly, while Natalie always positively, beautiful, goddess, the most beautiful woman in the office, etc. The story explores love tentatively which is maybe the only way to explore love - and of course draws no conclusions, just that two people found each other and fell in love.

The lightness of the story - there isn't a plot - and the fluid writing style that is unchallenging and simple (but not simplistic), make "Delicacy" both a quick read but also more enjoyable as you just get swept up in the story and can enjoy these two likeable people slowly come out of their own respective shells and find a reason to live. The romance in the novel is not cloying, melodramatic, or salacious as it can sometimes be in romance stories. Here it's written almost as an afterthought to a burgeoning relationship. It's charming and it feels real.

The style of the novel is to have short chapters interspersing the longer ones which contain small titbits to complement the story such as the ingredients to a dish the characters are eating or an excerpt from a book the characters are reading or a text message sent from Natalie to Markus. It felt a bit like a Nick Hornby novel like "High Fidelity" where the chapters are interspersed with Rob's "Top Five ..." lists. These chapters didn't really need to be there but chopped up the story nicely and kept you turning the pages. For some reason having these breaks in between chapters make it an even smoother read than it is.

David Foenkinos has written a romance novel for people who don't normally read romance novels. It's light and breezy like a love song sung on a summer night and can be enjoyed just as purely and completely. I can understand why some might feel it to be insubstantial but that is what a delicacy is, isn't it? Something delightful to savour for a few moments before it's gone and you move onto the next thing. In that, "Delicacy" is a triumph - a wonderful read that people who enjoyed "High Fidelity", "Chocolat" or "Amelie" will love. I sure did.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Delicatesse., 27 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Delicacy (Kindle Edition)
It is a very Parisian book,mixing what French call " spleen" and used a lot in their novel,and some humor .it is well written but I was disappointed a little bit in a so predictable ending.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyed this book., 13 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Delicacy (Kindle Edition)
A friend recommended this book as he knows I hate reading and have not read a book in 30 years because he felt I would enjoy the shorter chapters and the story.
He was absolutely right I read it very quickly as I thoroughly enjoyed it !!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Like Amelie, 15 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Delicacy (Kindle Edition)
This book reminded me of the film Amelie - quirky and different.
It has substance and soul. Give it a go.
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Delicacy
Delicacy by David Foenkinos (Paperback - 6 Dec 2011)
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