Regular visitors to my posts and my website will know that I am an unashamed Francophile. And from time to time, my reading choices reflect that – can’t read hard-boiled and noir crime all the time!
Well, what a delicious delight Vanessa Couchman’s collection of short stories turned out to be. Quite a bit of my Francophile reading has been autobiographical tracts about living in France – and some truly great reading.
But Couchman’s French Collection is a wonderful little assortment of short fiction pieces – magnificent in their crossing over time periods and their capture of so much that is French. As my regular readers know, I don’t do spoilers. But here are a couple of lines of Couchman’s that jumped out at me.
The first, about a little place near Cahors in the south-west of France at the outbreak of the First World War:
“The August heat crushed the soundless village, stripped of men.”
So succinct, so powerful, so evocative.
And then here’s this one about a small town shop:
“...a place where the women span and embroidered their gossip.”
For me, Couchman captures so much of France, both contemporary and historical. And her use of language is an utter pleasure to read.
I was originally intending to make this my read on the commute to work for a few days. I started Monday morning on the train, continued Monday afternoon on the way home, and then kept the bedside light on Monday night until I had finished the collection.
My friends, if you are a Francophile like me, this is a MUST read. I absolutely loved it!
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