Publication Date: 2009 in France as "La Delicatesse", 2011 in English
Category: Adult fiction
Who'll want to read it? Anyone looking for an intelligent, funny and uplifting story about overcoming loss and finding love a second time.
Point of no return: I wanted to read this because I love this author's style.
Classic line: "For him, she represented a certain kind of inaccessible woman, doubled by the fantasy that some people develop toward all superiors, or anyone in a position to hold sway over them." pg 78
What's it all about? Natalie is beautiful, happily married and has a succesful career. She loses her husband Francoise in a tragic accident and is faced with rebuilding her life. Her journey is long, but suddenly her angst disappears and she impulsively kisses a colleague. Natalie's act in the middle of a daydream creates a moment that Markus describes as "the realest of my life." pg 95. The office politics that result are both damning and hilarious.
The novel is full of funny little observations, with more than one person lamenting the invention of wall-to-wall carpet in the office environment and it's dampening affect on sensuality - after all no-one can hear spike heels clicking on carpet. I also loved the situations people created, particularly co-incidences:
"Markus couldn't concentrate. He wanted his explanation. There was only one way to get it: create a fake coincidence. Keep going back and forth in front of Natalie's office - all day if he had to. There'd have to be a moment when she came out and ... bam ... he'd be there, by pure coincidence, walking in front of her office." pg 86.
"... as Natalie arrived at the office, she ran into Chloe. Let's admit it on the spot: the latter was also well versed in phony coincidences. Therefore, she just happened to be walking back and forth in the hallway when she encountered her superior.*"
Footnote: "* We may finally ask ourselves whether coincidence really does exist. Maybe everybody we run into is walking around near us with the underlying hope of meeting us? To think of it, it's a fact that they often seem out of breath." pg 141
Delicacy is an enjoyable book and more uplifting than the beginning makes it seem. Readers will enjoy seeing the "delicacy" in both Natalie and Markus and the unlikely relationship that evolves for them. I can't wait to see the film!