Fresh Water for Flowers; Valerie Perrin
Europa - 2020
Violette works as a cemetery keeper at a 300 year old cemetery in Bourgogne, France, she lives above the office in a tiny apartment. Her days consist of arranging funerals and getting to know the loved ones who have just experienced a loss.
Violette Toussanit's life has never been easy, she had been an unwanted baby, sent to orphanage and several foster placements. Even at age 18 when she met the handsome, Phillipe, a man she would marry, she faced disappointment. Her husband, 10+ years older than her was a lazy, manipulative, abusive man. When her daughter Leonine is born, she's the bright spot in Violette's world, and the motivation for secretly teaching herself to read her daughter's books. Her love for her child is short-lived when tragedy strikes and her low-life husband Phillipe disappears for her life as well. But, one day Julien Seul, a police detective appears with an unusual request for his mother's burial, he also appears to know a lot about Violette and her missing husband who has never returned.
Fresh Water for Flowers a wonderful literary feast, a story about life, death and a bit of a mystery as well. Full of imperfect characters: from grave diggers, grounds people, a priest and the police detective, it's a story that will make you laugh one minute and shed a tear the next. I was swept away by this story and read it very slowly because the writing was exception as was the translation. It's not all bleak, I loved the flawed yet memorable characters, especially Violette. Written is short chapters, but there are many, each chapter heading begins with a thought provoking epitaph. Although, I did thing this book was overly long, I really enjoyed it. If you are looking for a story that you will not quickly forget, try this one.
"Don't Cry for My Death, Celebrate My Life"
"It's not uncommon to see visitors spitting on tombs. I've seen it more often than I would have believed. When I first started, I thought hostilities died with the hated person. But tombstones don't put the lid on hatred. I've attended funerals with no tears, I've attended happy funerals. There are some deaths that are convenient for everyone."
Rating - 4.5/5 stars