Bitter Almonds

Bitter Almonds

by Laurence Cosse
     
 

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Edith can hardly believe it when she learns that Fadila, her sixty-year-old housemaid, is completely illiterate. How can a person living in Paris in the third millennium possibly survive without knowing how to read or write? How does she catch a bus, or pay a bill, or withdraw money from the bank? Why it's unacceptable! She thus decides to become Fadila's French

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Overview

Edith can hardly believe it when she learns that Fadila, her sixty-year-old housemaid, is completely illiterate. How can a person living in Paris in the third millennium possibly survive without knowing how to read or write? How does she catch a bus, or pay a bill, or withdraw money from the bank? Why it's unacceptable! She thus decides to become Fadila's French teacher. But teaching something as complex as reading and writing to an adult is rather more challenging than she thought. Their lessons are short, difficult, and tiring. Yet, during these lessons, the oh-so-Parisian ƒdith and Fadila, an immigrant from Morocco, begin to understand one another as never before, and form this understanding will blossom a surprising and delightful friendship. ƒdith will enter into contact with a way of life utterly unfamiliar to her, one that is unforgiving at times, but also full of joy and dignity.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
An unlikely friendship forms in Cosse's latest (after An Accident in August) between a well-off French woman Edith, and her 60-year-old Moroccan housekeeper Fadila. When Edith learns that Fadila can neither read nor write, she takes it upon herself to teach her. Edith arrogantly assumes she can improvise a curriculum based on a few Internet searches and purchased textbooks while Fadila, coping with poverty and conflicts among her family members, has little time to study on her own. This proves to be a frustrating and fruitless endeavor as Edith and Fadila find themselves two steps back for each one forward. The novel stutters along as Fadila learns some letters, forgets them, relearns and never making any genuine progress. Fadila, who has been married three times and is treated miserably by her adult children, is the more interesting character and her struggle to survive on little money and without basic skills in a foreign country carries the emotional weight of the novel. Nevertheless, the laborious, detailed descriptions of the reading lessons overwhelm the short novel and leave little room for the characters or their relationship to develop. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
"Wry, sly, and coyly seditious, Cosse's piquant satire is a subtly wrought manifesto against blatant consumer manipulation and media malfeasance." —Carol Haggas, Booklist

"Cosse poignantly depicts characters" —Publishers Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781609451110
Publisher:
Europa
Publication date:
04/02/2013
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
176
Sales rank:
1,041,165
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

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From the Publisher

"Wry, sly, and coyly seditious, Cosse's piquant satire is a subtly wrought manifesto against blatant consumer manipulation and media malfeasance." —Carol Haggas, Booklist

"Cosse poignantly depicts characters" —Publishers Weekly

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