Do you know the feeling of picking up a book and within just a few pages feeling like the book was written precisely for you? The way the words form, the characters who feel like best friends, the descriptions of how the dinner table was set, and the way she fell in love last year? Sometimes it’s even so precise that you feel as if you wrote the book yourself? Like your heart and soul poured onto the page with an elegance that exists deep inside you but is seldom revealed?
What I found so wonderful about this book, however, was not so much the storyline but its poetic language and magical characters. Even with these delightful underpinnings, it is also the kind of book (my favorite kind) that is fabulously political and prophetic at hidden turns — reminiscent of such literary pleasures as Pascal Mercier’s Night Train to Lisbon and the visual delight of Babette’s Feast.
Barbery fills the book with exquisite sentences, such as, “That is sashimi: a fragment of the cosmos within reach of one’s heart, but, alas, light years from the fragrance or taste that is fleeing my wisdom, or is it my inhumanity…”
Exactly. If those words touch the depths of you like they did me, you will love this book.