Review

Delicacy

by David Foenkinos

When Natalie met Francoise on the streets of Paris, the attraction was instant. They both knew it. It all just fell together.

“When a man comes up to a woman he doesn’t know, he’s supposed to say lovely things…Why had he stopped her? It had mostly to do with the way she walked. He’d sensed something new, almost childlike, like a rhapsody of kneecaps. Right then and there on this sidewalk, they were meeting. An absolutely classical beginning…”

"DELICACY is a novel full of intense emotions its readers can literally feel... Beautifully translated from French, DELICACY will win David Foenkinos a host of new fans."

Their romance was a fairy tale. They met, fell in love, and got married. After that, their passion only continued to build. Natalie made it through each day because, at the end of it, was the promise of blissful hours with Francoise. And Francoise simply adored everything about his wife. It doesn’t get much better than what they had. So, when tragedy struck, how was Natalie supposed to pick up the pieces and go on? She very nearly didn’t. Her despair was palpable. It showed in her limp demeanor and her refusal to speak, move, or interact in any way. Concerned friends visited in shifts and tried to cheer her up, or at least get her to start living again.

The process was slow, but Natalie finally showed signs of recovery, albeit small ones. She went back to work once more, but immediately returned to the safety of home in the evenings. She was efficient at her job, but could barely stand the looks of pity she saw on her co-workers’ faces. Years passed, and she remained minimally functional. Everything reminded her of Francoise. Could she ever love another man so completely?

From the day Natalie was hired, her boss wanted to possess her. He might as well have been a puppy trotting at her heels, tongue lolling out the side of his mouth. Maybe if he had been, she would have cared for him. But Natalie had no interest in Charles. In truth, she had little interest in much of anything.

Then one day, out of the blue, an impetuous kiss changed her future. It involved a most unlikely person and led to wholly unexpected circumstances.

DELICACY is a novel full of intense emotions its readers can literally feel: Natalie’s deep love for Francoise, her agonized despair at his death, her deep depression, her boss’s aching desire, and co-worker Markus’s utter confusion. Not entirely a romance and not entirely serious in tone, it has painfully sad parts and delightfully witty parts. Between chapters are mini-chapters that may be merely a list, a definition, song lyrics, or examples of telephone numbers. While that sounds puzzling, surprisingly these interludes lace the story closer together. Beautifully translated from French, DELICACY will win David Foenkinos a host of new fans.

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on March 8, 2012

Delicacy
by David Foenkinos

  • Publication Date: February 14, 2012
  • Genres: Fiction, Romance
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial
  • ISBN-10: 0062004360
  • ISBN-13: 9780062004369