Hunting and Gathering by Anna Gavalda
Anna Gavalda combines a genius for storytelling with vivid, exquisite writing and characters who leap from the pages of this irresistible novel, which has sold half a million copies in France, and is being published in thirty countries. It is the captivating, quirky, funny, tenderly ironic story of a collection of misfits in contemporary Paris - a near-anorexic artist, a chef, his granny, and a sad-sack aristocrat - who together become something more than the sum of their parts and make for a perfect novel. 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 instal 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.