- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Europa Editions (16 April 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1609452496
- ISBN-13: 978-1609452490
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.3 x 21 cm
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 555,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Billie Paperback – 16 Apr 2015
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Praise for Billie
"Billie is a revelation! It's Gavalda's finest noel yet."
“The work is a testament to Gavalda’s fine storytelling skills, which remain true even in the books’ translation into English.” - Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Gavalda's sparkling impertinence and her childlike joie de vie are irresistible."
—Marie Claire (France)
"A sensitive, delicate, funny, immensley readable story."
—Olivia de Lamberterie, France 2
"Gavalda's books have both wit and a whimsical charm."
—The Sunday Telegraph
"Gavalda has tapped into a mood that many people share."
"Anna Gavalda's novels make her a distant cousin of Dorothy Parker."
"Precision, tenderness for her characters, a sense of detail, and an intoxicating mix of nostalgia and pure joy make Anna Gavalda a unique author."
About the Author
Born in Paris in 1970, Anna Gavalda’s first published work was the critically acclaimed collection of short stories I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere, which sold over half a million copies in her native France and was published in the US by Riverhead in 2003. She is also the author of Someone I Loved and the international bestseller Hunting and Gathering (Riverhead, 2007), which was made into a film starring Audrey Tautou and Daniel Auteuil. Gavalda lives in Paris.
Jennifer Rappaport received a BA in English and French from Vassar College and an MA in comparative literature from New York University, where she was awarded a Chateaubriand Fellowship from the French government. A former editor at Oxford University Press and the New Press, she is currently a freelance editor and translator in New York.
Top customer reviews
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First of all there is the over-loud, always present voice of the author: some authors go to considerable trouble to conceal their own voice behind the story that they are writing but Gavalda does exactly the opposite: on every page she is telling us: look what a clever little author I am! And always the same voice, throughout the three novels I have read: flippantly cynical, ironic, trying over-hard to be humorous. The characters come alive all right. But not as persons, more as stereotypes that the reader (some readers...) can identify with.
And then there are lots of problems with the translation, and/or editing. Take the following sentence, p.36: I couldn't help having such totally humiliating and dirty thoughts...' This makes no sense in the context. It makes sense when you insert the missing word: 'I couldn't help THEM having such...' But some items were simply beyond me, for instance the final paragraph of this particular chapter, here verbatim: Ah... what a pain in the ass... My little bolster.' My dictionary is equally puzzled. A bolster can be a long pillow - or a heavy chisel... What on earth does it denote here? I rather suspect that the translator is missing some non-standard meaning of the term 'bolster' in French.
Apropos translation: is it really a good idea to translate typical French concepts into their nearest equivalent in the USA? Why can't a collège just be a collège, for instance? Maybe with a glossary at the end of the book to explain what it means? 'Junior High school' is specific to America and not a true equivalent of the French collège. Similarly, French brand names are transmogrified into American brand names - which mean nothing to me. Why not leave them French, and explain per glossary? We are reading a French book, not an American book. But the closer I looked, the more translation and/or editing errors I detected. If I liked the book enough I would go to the trouble of comparing with the French original and I'm quite sure I would discover more. But I don't like the book well enough to go to that trouble.
If you want to know what overstressed French women like to read in the Métro on their way home from work, then read this. If not, then give it a miss.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Anna Gavalda created a story that has a charm and made me laugh out loud at times, yet other times it touches on many different aspects of the troubling, lonely aspects of not fitting in and not following he well worn path that everyone follows. This book may not be for everyone, but personally I couldn't put it down. I loved the character development and although I noticed one reviewer wasn't crazy about the ending, I actually liked the fact that the story, as rough and raw as it was in places, had some delightfully romantic twists that were sweet, especially the ending.