The Girl from the Chartreuse by Pierre Péju


“The Girl from the Chartreuse” is a story that will break your heart.

Vollard is driving his van back to his bookshop when a little girl runs out into the road in front of him.

Éva, the little girl, had been running home from school, anxious because her mother failed to meet her.

Thérèse, her mother, was running late. She is well intentioned but she isn’t dealing well with the responsibilities of a single mother.

And so a tragic accident happens.

Vollard visits to the hospital where Éva is lying unconscious. It is clear that he identifies with the lonely child, and he reaches back into his own childhood and the memories of books that have filled his life to find stories to tell her.

Can he reach Éva? And can she save him from his solitary life?

This is a striking tale of childhood, loneliness and learning to accept and understand our differences. The beautifully drawn characters and vivid storytelling draw you in and make you hope even when all seems lost.

A short book, but it holds a story that will stay with you.

(Translated by Ina Rilke)

4 responses

  1. Pingback: Saturday Review of Books: February 21, 2008 at Semicolon

  2. Hi Jane, I have hust read The Girl from Charteuse. When I have finished reading a book, I usually google it to see what I can find out about the book and its author.

    You name and site came up.

    Like you, I think this is a beautifully written book. Very sad, you feel sorry for the three main characters.

    The translation is excellent, I can’t quite imagine how they manage to translate from one language to another and stll keep the sense and feel of the book.

    Now I have found your site, I will have a look through to see what else you have been reading. marge.

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