Wednesday, March 28, 2012


By David Foenkinos

Quirky. That is what one reviewer on amazon called Delicacy and I have to agree. But it is also highly enjoyable, humorous and real. Translated from the French, it still is a fun read. Made me want to read it in the original language (I could have done this in college but my French is quite rusty by this time).

Delicacy is about a woman named Natalie who is attractive in an Aubrey Hepburn/ French sort of way. She meets and marries the love of her life. They have an idyllic relationship, both pursuing the careers that they do well in. However, the husband is killed while jogging (he doesn't see the van coming) and Natalie lives in a fog for months. She breaks out of her fog and unintentionally kisses one of her coworkers, a Swedish man named Markus.

While Natalie's husband had been a gorgeous and suave gentleman, Markus is anything but. He is not very attractive, socially inept and dresses funny. Yet, there is something between Markus and Natalie that is like a spark, a depth of humor and honesty that draws them together. They seem like a real couple rather than an author's creation.  Despite a great deal of bullying and gossip at work, the two build a strong relationship together.

What does the book have to do with my faith? I keep thinking of the fog that Natalie is in after her husband's death. Even though she is in deep mourning, she realizes the attempts of her friends and family to look after her. They seem to have a schedule of when to check on her, bring her meals, and visit. Yet, they don't want to talk about her experience as much as try to get her out of it. She needs this time, however, to heal. I was reminded of the church. We do a good job of visiting, calling and providing food for the bereaved but we too want others to move on. Sometimes all a person needs is to talk about the one they have lost. This is helpful for them. But it makes us church folk nervous and uncomfortable. We want the mourner to jump out of their grief like Lazarus rising from the grave. But grief it takes more time than we are willing to allow, even in the church.

I enjoyed this book so much that I gave it to my mother. I especially enjoyed the short "between" chapters that would explain definitions, song lyrics, background information and sometimes unnecessary facts found in the main storyline. The book is a short read and highly recommended.

Lire heureux!


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