Friday, 4 February 2011

Gavalda, Anna "Hunting and Gathering"

Gavalda, Anna "Hunting and Gathering" (French: Ensemble c'est tout) - 2006

Another book club read. Most of the group really liked this novel but when I said this wasn't exactly my style, one of our members said "it was too easy, right?" Of course, she was right. Although I probably wouldn't classify this as typical chick lit, it wasn't deep enough for my liking. It wasn't an "irresistable novel combining a genius for storytelling with vivid, exquisite writing and characters who leap from the pages" to me.

The only pleasure I got from this book was that I was reading it in French.

(By the way, we all agreed that the English title was stupid.)

From the back cover:

"Prize-winning author Anna Gavalda has galvanized the literary world with an exquisite genius for storytelling. Here, in her epic new novel of intimate lives-and filled with the "humanity and wit" (Marie Claire) that has made it a bestselling sensation in France-Gavalda explores the twists of fate that connect four people in Paris. Comprised of a starving artist, her shy, aristocratic neighbor, his obnoxious but talented roommate, and a neglected grandmother, this curious, damaged quartet may be hopeless apart, but together, they may just be able to face the world."

We discussed this in our international book club in February 2007.


  1. Hmm, I'm not too hopeful. I can't even figure out why I even bought his book. Maybe it was one of the rare books in French when I went to a book sale somewhere. We'll see how it goes

    1. That probably explains it. I read it because someone in the book club suggested it and it was chosen by the members. They showed the film in the original in a nearby cinema later and those of us who spoke French went and watched it. It was alright but, no, not my thing.

  2. Well, as you know, now I read it and enjoyed it a lot. I liked what she did with the characters, and she touched lots of important French themes. Mostly, she did great with the flowing writing, with tons of references and cultural jokes. Maybe difficult to catch if you haven't lived in France these past decades. I did explain several references to my Mexican student, who had no way to even see there was a joke.
    I think it is too existential to be classified as chick-lit
    You wrote on my blog that you preferred other books by her. Which one did you prefer?

    1. You might be right there, that might have been a problem. As I already mentioned, no, I wouldn't call it chick-lit, either.
      The books I read were Je voudrais quelqu’un m’attende quelque part and 35 kilos d’espoir. I did like them both, preferred the latter because it was a proper book rather than short stories but even the short stories were nice.