cover image Hunting and Gathering

Hunting and Gathering

Anna Gavalda, , trans. from the French by Alison Anderson. . Riverhead, $16 (488pp) ISBN 978-1-59448-144-4

Love cures all that ails the troubled trio of "no-hopers" in this sentimental second novel by French literary sensation Gavalda (Someone I Loved ; I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere ). Camille, a talented artist exhausted by ennui and anorexia, cleans offices at night and cowers in a shabby garret by day. Philibert, the fastidious scion of a titled family, peddles museum postcards while squatting in his dead grandmother's Parisian manse, waiting for her estate to be settled. Philibert's roommate, Franck, a talented (and womanizing) chef with ambition to burn, motorcycles once a week to look in on his stubborn, ailing grandmother Paulette, an "inmate" at a retirement home. When Philibert finds Camille deathly ill one day, he rescues her from her icy garret and deposits her in his shabby but spacious home. Franck and Camille take an immediate dislike to each other, a sure sign that they're bound to fall in love—which happens, cutely, after they liberate Paulette. That's when, "for the first time, each and every one of them felt like they belonged to a real family." Gavalda's comically implausible and comfortably predictable novel of misfits is a Gallic charmer anchored by breezy and poignant storytelling. (Apr.)