Cannonball Passport: Book from France!
This was a very quirky book, which I started in advance of a trip to France that was making me (as always) be rather self-flagellating for not being more diligent about building on the hard won fluency that I’d gained in school and then maintaining it (through more than haphazard one offs on vacation twice a decade, e.g. filing police reports in Marrakesh or asking if something had peanuts in Paris). It was, admittedly, picked off of a list of ‘books appropriate for B2 French speakers,’ and there wasn’t much that recommended it other than the fact that, length-wise, it seemed that I might be able to get through it in some reasonable amount of time.
Will note that a book this length in English I could have likely finished on the Eurostar. In French, mon Dieu did it take ages! For what I could explicitly tell was not a very complicated book! And one which was written and is marketed/sold for a normal French audience, which is to say our American worries about the vastly superior intellect of those Europeans might not be that substantiated. Books of all lexical difficulties are sold world over.
Ceux qui s’aiment fissisent tourjour par se retrouver, or Those whom we love always end up finding us follows the interweaving tales of three women of three generations—grand-mère, mère, and petite-fille. All three are struggling with their own secret stories of d’amour, cued to their particular station in life. Liliane, the grandmother, had a love in her young adulthood who went away and never returned and never wrote (WINK WINK) whom she has thought of intermittently ever since. Catherine is fine. She’s fine! Pierre her colleague is just a colleague! That’s all! (everyone is terribly French in this novel). Justine, the granddaughter, has decided to help her grandmother find her long lost lover and is a typical aimless millennial. Perhaps someone she encounters in her quest will be of interest?
I had to get a fluent literary-minded friend to confirm my feeling that this book is written in a rather ham-fisted way, with Elaborate Emotional Inner Monologues which do land with a bit of a thud. On the upside, I did finally learn some useful words that have popped up elsewhere! And all in all, while the story goes where you expect it to go, it’s nice to see that it ends in a more realistic manner than you might otherwise expect.