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French Leave: a novel by Anna Gavalda

French Leave: a novel by Anna Gavalda.  The Oxford English Dictionary records: ‘the custom (in the 18th c. prevalent in France and sometimes imitated in England) of going away from a reception, etc. without taking leave of the host or hostess. Hence, jocularly, to take French leave is to go away, or do anything, without permission or notice.’   Gavalda’s small novel of a mere 108 pages fulfils this conceit when siblings Simon, Garance and Lola flee a dull family wedding to visit their brother Vincent, in the south of France.  During their several-hour escapade, we readers voyeurishly share their family memories and idiosyncrasies before they return to their every-day lives.  Gavalda’s work has been compared to that of Anne Tyler with its intelligent dialogue and oddball characters.  Slight, but worth your time.

Amy P.

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