French Leave; Anna Gavalda
Europa Editions - 2011
French Leave is a delightful quick read about sibling relationships. The story is just over 100 pages and takes place over a period of just over 24 hours.
The story begins with Simon Lariot and his wife Carine picking up Simon's younger sister for a road trip from Paris to the countryside for a family wedding which is expected to be rather dull. Garance and her SIL Carine are opposites - Garance is bold and a free spirit, while Carine is neurotic, prejudice, a chronic complainer and insecure around Simon's siblings. Along the way Simon makes a second stop to pick up Lola, another sibling, which only angers Carine more.
The siblings are disappointed that their younger brother, Vincent is unable to attend the wedding so they decide to drop uptight Carine off at the church and take a "French Leave." The threesome heads to Tours in the french countryside where brother Vincent is a tour guide. For a few hours all (4) siblings forget their jobs, kids, spouses and exes and instead drink some wine and recall fond memories of earlier times spent together. When their time together comes to an end, each feels a since of renewal and appreciation for each other are their current situations.
French Leave is an interesting character study on sibling relationships. The characters while each very different from one another, are well developed. Although this was a translated work from (French), the translation was great and the conversations, wit and humor felt genuine, but never forced. This was a great book to sit down with and read from cover to cover in just a little over an hour. I'll be looking forward to more books by this author and, I already have several on my shelves to look forward to.