Monsieur Linh and His Child by Philippe Claudel

Monsieur Linh and His Child

Philippe Claudel

Two elderly men without a common language form a friendship that comforts them after great loss, and for one of them, exile. Written very simply, the story reads almost like a fable about the power of friendship, but some of Mr Linh's actions raised questions in my mind. An incident at the end resolved them and all the pieces fell sadly into place. A small book with a big emotional impact.


He is walking along a troubling path, Monsieur Linh tells himself. He listens to the fat man's voice that is so familiar to him even if it says things he never understands. His friend's voice is deep and hoarse; it seems to be negotiating stones and enormous rocks, like the streams that gush down the mountains before reaching the valley, making itself heard, laughing, weeping at times, and talking loudly. It is a music that embraces everything in life, its caresses as well as its struggles.

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