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Cambiare l'acqua ai fiori de Valérie Perrin
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Cambiare l'acqua ai fiori (original: 2019; edição: 2019)

de Valérie Perrin (Autore), Alberto Bracci Testasecca (Tradutor)

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaConversas
919227,275 (4.11)Nenhum(a)
Membro:n.martini
Título:Cambiare l'acqua ai fiori
Autores:Valérie Perrin (Autore)
Outros autores:Alberto Bracci Testasecca (Tradutor)
Informação:Roma, Edizioni E/O, 2019
Coleções:libri casa
Avaliação:
Etiquetas:Lett.francese

Detalhes da Obra

Fresh Water for Flowers de Valérie Perrin (2019)

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Mostrando 1-5 de 9 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Thank you to Goodreads and Europa for this book. It was translated from French into English and it didn't lose anything at all in it's interpretation like a few books that I have read that didn't make sense to me when translated.

What an interesting and poignant book. I have never read a book quite like this. Imagine being a cemetery keeper in France. Violette kept records of all the deceased, going back to the 1700s in her register. It's not just about the deceased and their lives but about Violette's life, her meeting deceased relatives loved ones, mistresses, her co-workers who were like friends, and how she came to be a cemetery keeper.

It's also about her love for Phillip, her husband, who came and went as he pleased on his motorcycle and her love for her only daughter Leonie. That's a book in itself which I won't spoil here of what happened to her in her young life and what happened afterward.

This book might have been 476 pages but it was fast reading and also very interesting and kept me engaged throughout the book. ( )
  sweetbabyjane58 | Dec 20, 2020 |
I’m not sure where I first heard of this title, but I’m so glad I did. It’s magical.

When we encounter the protagonist, Violette Trenet, she is 49 years old and the caretaker of a cemetery in Bourgogne in east-central France. Abandoned at birth and shunted between foster home placements, she married young. Her partner, the handsome Philippe Toussaint, soon showed that his “birdsong didn’t live up to the plumage” because he was lazy and manipulative and a philanderer. Though Violette’s life brightened with the birth of a daughter Léonine, the marriage was not a happy one. Philippe left the work to his wife and daily went for motorbike rides; twenty years earlier, shortly after they took over the cemetery job in 1997, he left and didn’t return. Violette doesn’t mourn his absence.

One day, a police detective Julien Seul arrives at the cemetery with a mystery. His mother Irène, who recently passed away, requested to have her ashes buried with Gabriel Prudent, a man unknown to Julien but buried in Violette’s cemetery. This encounter between Julien and Violette leads to uncovering the story of Irène and Gabriel but also leads to Violette examining her life with Philippe and discovering what happened to him.

Violette is a very interesting main character. She has many strengths: she teaches herself to read, shoulders the work of two adults, raises her daughter as a virtual single parent, and makes a good life for herself after tragedy. Her kindness leads to the creation of wonderful friendships. She serves as a confidante and provides comfort to the bereaved: “I get tears, confidences, anger, sighs, despair.” She treats the deceased with respect: “Maintaining it is all about caring for the dead who lie within it. It’s about respecting them. And if they weren’t respected in life, at least they are in death. I’m sure plenty of bastards lie here. But death doesn’t differentiate between the good and the wicked. And anyhow, who hasn’t been a bastard at least once in their life?” She does her job with love and pride, even recording everyone’s funeral and tending graves, tasks she isn’t required to do: “’if we had to do only what was part of our job, life would be sad.’” She is someone whom many, including the reader, come to admire.

The book has something for everyone. There’s more than one mystery with several twists. There’s a heartbreaking tragedy. There’s romance. And despite the death and sadness, there is humour. A scene describing how Violette scares away some misbehaving young people from the cemetery is hilarious. And the overall message is life-affirming; at one point Violette falls into a deep depression but eventually she returns to tending her garden and gives “fresh water to the flowers.” She decides, “My present life is a present from heaven. As I say to myself every morning, when I open my eyes. I have been unhappy, destroyed even. Nonexistent. Drained. I was like my closest neighbors, but worse. . . . But since I’ve never had a taste for unhappiness, I decided it wouldn’t last. Unhappiness has to stop someday.”

Each chapter begins with an epitaph which could appear on a tombstone: “The darkness has to intensify for the first star to appear” and “You’re no longer where you were, but you’re everywhere that I am” and “May your rest be as sweet as your heart was kind” and “Sleep, Nana, sleep, but may you still hear our childish laughter up there in highest Heaven” and “The leaves fall, the seasons pass, only memory is eternal.”

I loved the writing style. I was hooked from the very beginning: “My closest neighbors don’t quake in their boots. They have no worries, don’t fall in love, don’t bite their nails, don’t believe in chance, make no promises, or noise, don’t have social security, don’t cry, don’t search for their keys, their glasses, the remote control, their children, happiness. . . . They’re not ass-kissers, ambitious, grudge-bearers, dandies, petty, generous, jealous, scruffy, clean, awesome, funny, addicted, stingy, cheerful, crafty, violent, lovers, whiners, hypocrites, gentle, tough, feeble, nasty, liars, thieves, gamblers, strivers, idlers, believers, perverts, optimists. They’re dead.” And some of the similes are wonderful! For example, when she and Philippe are barely speaking, Violette comments, “our dialogues were as flat as Tutankhamun’s brain scan.” And her unpleasant and unhappy in-laws she describes as “Two gherkins in a jar of vinegar.”

This book, a meditation on life, love, and loss, is wonderful. At turns heart-breaking and heart-warming, it will not leave the reader unaffected.

Note: Please check out my reader's blog (https://schatjesshelves.blogspot.com/) and follow me on Twitter (@DCYakabuski). ( )
  Schatje | Nov 26, 2020 |
This is one of those quiet novels that is full of drama! Following the life of Violette Toussaint, former level-crossing keeper, now a cemetery keeper. In dual timelines we follow her life with Philippe Toussaint who left her, and her tentative new relationship with detective Julien, and the troubles in her past that she needs to acknowledge and deal with. Violette is a wonderful narrator, and the pages just flew by. I loved it. Full review on my blog https://annabookbel.net/one-translator-two-novelists-two-translated-by-hildegard... ( )
  gaskella | Nov 5, 2020 |
Violette Toussaint is the caretaker of the cemetery at Brancion-en-Chalon. She lives alone in a small house on the cemetery grounds, a haven for visitors often racked by grief, to whom Violette offers warmth, solace… and tea. Violette’s family are the pets she keeps and her regular colleagues-of-sort – the three gravediggers, Nono, Gaston, and Elvis; the three undertakers, Pierre, Paul, and Jacques (also known as the Lucchini brothers) and Father Cédric Duras, who officiates at most of the funerals in this largely Catholic area.

Violette is elegant, suave, sophisticated. But just as her dark “winter” coats often cover colourful “summer” clothing, Violette has a hidden history which has led her, via several winding roads, to this little village in Bourgogne. We learn that Violette has reinvented herself, setting off from a childhood in fostering and surviving a painful marriage before settling down as the lady of the cemetery.

The narration, largely in the likeable voice of Violette, alternates between her present experiences and her past life. But then matters start becoming complicated. One day, a police officer named Julien Seul, turns up at Violette’s door. His mother has left instructions that her ashes be laid on the tomb of a distinguished lawyer in the cemetery, revealing, after her death, a passionate clandestine affair. Violette helps Julien to come to terms with this discovery. But Julien’s arrival on the scene also rakes up a tragic mystery – the grief-shaped core of Violette’s past.

Antonio D’Orrico, writing in Il Corriere della Sera described Fresh Water for Flowers as the “most beautiful novel in the world”. I am generally loath to heap such unreserved praise on any book, because I’m aware how much depends on the reader’s taste. But I came across a particular passage in this book which sums up what I felt when I finished the novel:

I close Irène’s journal with a heavy heart. The way one closes a novel one has fallen in love with. A novel that’s a friend from whom it’s hard to part, because one wants it close by, in arm’s reach.

To me, Fresh Water for Flowers is one of those novels. It’s too early to say whether it will prove to be a memorable one and it might soon be replaced in my fickle affections. But, at least for its duration, it made me want to return to its fictional world and ensconce myself between its pages. The various narrative strands, including the rather unexpected introduction of a “mystery story” element around half the way through, engaged my interest. But what I possibly found more engaging is the style, the surprisingly effective mix of pathos and humour, tragedy and hope, laced with more than a dose of romance. The titles of each of the short chapters, evidently inspired by funerary epigraphs, more often than not provide an oblique commentary on the content of the chapter.

Perrin is a screenwriter and I can easily imagine the novel and its witty dialogue being turned into a quintessentially French movie, with a central character played by Juliette Binoche or Audrey Tautou, and a supporting cast of bantering, quirky characters. The book even suggests its own soundtrack, with various references to French songs and occasional snatches of Bach and Chopin. It is, in fact, a very “sensual” novel, not just in the sense of being about passion, but because of its assault on the senses – its passages are rich in colours, sounds, flavours, fragrances.

This marks Valérie Perrin’s English debut. Hildegarde Serle deserves praise for her translation, which reads effortlessly and musically, and makes one forget that the novel was originally in a very different language. ( )
  JosephCamilleri | Sep 12, 2020 |
I have just finished reading Fresh Water for Flowers by Valérie Perrin, translated from the French by Hildegarde Serle and I wish I had the time to start reading it all over again. This is the most beautiful book to come out of my TBR pile this year. Violette Toussaint lives in a little house in a cemetery in Bourgogne in France. She is the caretaker of this cemetery and she tends it with love and pride. Her world revolves around the tending of the graves and the care of the aggrieved. Her friends are the people who cross her path there. So far, it doesn’t seem like much of a story but it is so lyrical, so touching, so sad and so rewarding. This is the life of a young woman who goes through some of life’s most tragic events and attempts to keep her head and her heart in the right place throughout. It is a Sunday afternoon kind of read. I recommend it to all. Thank you to Europa Editions and NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  carole888fort | Aug 22, 2020 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Valérie Perrinautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Bracci Testasecca, AlbertoTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Serle, HildegardeTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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