Hunting and Gathering
Camille is doing her best to disappear. She barely eats, works at night as a cleaner and lives in a tiny attic room. Philibert Marquet de La Durbelliere is a stammering, erudite aristocrat who sells postcards outside a museum. One evening he overcomes his own excruciating reticence to rescue Camille, unconscious, from her freezing garret, and install her in the large, ornate apartment he is caretaking downstairs. He already has an unlikely flatmate, the foul-mouthed, talented working-class young chef, Franck, who is made more obnoxious by guilt about the beloved grandmother he's had to put in a home. Together, this curious, damaged little quartet may be able to face the world.
Gorgeously original, full of wry humour and razor-sharp observation, redolent of Paris, its foibles, its food and its neglected corners, Hunting and Gathering is a universal story about despair, love and the virtues of ensemble-playing in a naughty world. It's a big novel that you will not want to put down. Recommended. First published in French 2004; this translation 2006.
Already a bestseller in several countries, this enchanting novel about a collection of misfits in Paris is quirky, poignant and unputdownable - Gavalda is a new young star