Translated by Alison Anderson
From the bestselling author of The Elegance of the Hedgehog comes a story about a woman’s journey, in which she discovers the father she never knew and a love she never thought possible.
Rose has turned forty, but has barely begun to live. When her Japanese father dies and she finds herself an orphan, she leaves France for Kyoto to hear the reading of his will. Paul, her father’s assistant, takes Rose on a mysterious pilgrimage designed by her deceased father. Her bitterness is soothed by the temples, Zen gardens and teahouses, and by her encounters with her father’s friends. As she recognises what she has lost, and as secrets are divulged, Rose learns to accept a part of herself that she has never before acknowledged.
Through her father’s itinerary, he opens his heart posthumously to his daughter, and Rose finds love where she least expects it. This stunning fifth novel from international bestseller Muriel Barbery is a mesmerising story of second chances, of beauty born out of grief.
INTERVIEWS and REVIEWS
Literary Hub: How I Learned to Let Form Do the Work (op-ed)
New Yorker: Briefly Noted
‘An ode to Japan…a magnificent, resonant, finely crafted novel.’
‘Muriel Barbery sows beauty on every page.’
‘In this story Rose explores an inner self that illuminates her darkness and leads her to overcome her sadness.’
‘It is a joy to take a stroll with Rose and Paul, to savour the beauty of camellias, peonies and wild irises, in a world of muted, delicate colours, and to hear their elegant conversation.’
‘A moving, accomplished novel…thoughtful, ethereal and inspired.’
‘The bucolic narrative meanders into folk tale and myth as if getting lost in a lush garden.’
‘At its best, Barbery’s imaginative tale reads as a mix of J.R.R. Tolkien and Hayao Miyazaki, epic in scope yet grounded by humor.’
‘Readers who love meditative, dreamlike fiction will enjoy this translation, which rings with the music of the original French.’