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About the Author: Anna Gavalda

Anna Gavalda is a French teacher and award-winning novelist.

Referred to by Voici magazine as "a distant descendant of Dorothy Parker", Anna Gavalda was born in an upper-class suburb of Paris. While working as French teacher in high school, a collection of her short stories was first published in 1999 under the title "Je voudrais que quelqu'un m'attende quelque part" that met with both critical acclaim and commercial success, selling more than three-quarters of a million copies in her native France and winning the 2000 "Grand Prix RTL-Lire." The book was translated into numerous languages including in English and sold in twenty-seven countries. It was published to acclaim in North America in 2003 as "I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere." The book received much praise and is a library and school selection worldwide in several languages.

Gavalda's first novel, Je l'aimais (Someone I Loved) was published in France in February 2002 and later that year in English. Inspired by the failure of her own marriage, it too was a major literary success and a bestseller and was followed by the short (96 pages) juvenile novel 35 kilos d'espoir (95 Pounds of Hope) that she said she wrote "to pay tribute to those of my students who were dunces in school but otherwise fantastic people".

In 2004, her third novel, "Ensemble c'est tout," focused on the lives of four people living in an apartment house: a struggling young artist who works as an office cleaner at night, a young aristocrat misfit, a cook, and an elderly grandmother. The 600-page book is a bestseller in France and has been translated into English as Hunting and Gathering.

As of 2007, her three books have sold more than 3 million copies in France. Ensemble c'est tout was made into a successful movie in 2007 by Claude Berri, with Audrey Tautou and Guillaume Canet. The adaptation of her first novel, Je l'aimais, with Daniel Auteuil and Marie-Josée Croze, was filmed in 2009 by Zabou Breitman.

Divorced, and the mother of two, Gavalda lives in the city of Melun, Seine-et-Marne, about 50 km southeast of Paris. In addition to writing novels, she also contributes to Elle magazine.


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Goodreads rating: 4.10

Paperback, Published in Jan 2004 by Vintage

ISBN10: 0099494078 | ISBN13: 9780099494072

Page count: 480

Camille is doing her best to disappear. She barely eats, works at night as a cleaner and lives in a tiny attic room. Downstairs in a beautiful, ornate apartment, lives Philibert Marquet de la Durbellière, a shy, erudite, upper-class man with an unlikely flatmate in the shape of the foul-mouthed but talented chef, Franck. One freezing evening Philibert overcomes his excruciating reitcence to rescue Camille, unconscious, from her garret and bring her into his home.

As she recovers Camille learns more about Philibert; about Franck and his guilt for his beloved but fragile grandmother Paulette, who is all he has left in the world; and about herself. And slowly, this curious quartet of misfits all discover the importance of food, friendship and love.

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