She stood back up behind me and put both hands flat on my shoulders. I want you not to move and not to turn around. Please I am begging of you. I waited a while, and then headed to my car.

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Remember that fabulous film "Diva"? The bald guy who dedicated his life to assembling a 10, piece puzzle? In white? He was so cooooooooooooool Loads of internal coolness. That white canvas was just a token of his Zen-like internal refrigeration.

This book is peopled with awful human beings who are completely caught up in their mundane and banal existences. The first of these stories--"I. Her interior landscape is lunar at best. Gavalda for finally stripping the scales from my eyes. The more I read the more I realize that this is precisely what she has set out to do: reveal the difference between what people playing their public roles think they are doing and how their actions really affect people around them. Most of these people are not striving for excellence, although they frequently dwell on their innate superiority.

In "Permission" a young man is on leave from his military service. If ever there was a being living in a deluded world of judgment and otiosity this is he. He describes the presence of others around him as definitive proof there is no God. Could it be possible others are saying the same thing about him?

Yeah, not cool to want things. What is Ms. Gavalda showing us? Is there evolution of understanding going on? Has no popular novelist ever bothered to write about it? If this is the case then Ms. Gavalda is doing a much better job of unwinding my expectations because I started off scoffing at the lack of ornament in her writing.

The subjunctive tense is one of the best things about the French language of which there are many; imagine having a special word for contradicting a negative question: "si!

The subjunctive is a verb tense that is largely obsolete in English although remnants of it still exist; when it is used it is invariably used incorrectly.

I misuse it myself. The gift of the subjunctive is to hint subtly at truthfulness. This is not to say the French are the ultimately truthful race; they do, however, unarguably understand precision and nuance, which is why they are such good theoretical physicists and philosophers.

Because the French grok that an idea, thought, belief, conviction, etc. Thus one uses the subjunctive when something is not yet out of the realm of possibility. One also uses the subjunctive for prognostications, forecasts, and doubts. In English we indicate the precarious nature of these types of statements by using aspects, which is just the teeniest, tiniest bit less elegant than using a verb tense. An especially velvety use of the subjunctive is for necessity. Il faut que.


Anna Gavalda



Anna Gavalda


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