The Foundling by Agnes Desarthe

The Foundling

Agnes Desarthe

Unsettling perhaps in a strange, philosophical French sort of way, but my, I really loved it! Jerome is 56, divorced with a 17 year old daughter whose boyfriend has just been killed in a motorbike accident. Emotions run rampant, nightmares from The Second World War surface; odd things happen and quirky people appear in Jerome´s life to turn it upside-down. A moving and lyrically bewitching novel with twists that kept me reading frantically.

Extract

The whole question of instincts is the only one he keeps asking. He hasn't learnt to live the way other people do, by talking, and thinking. Something in his body is triggered before his brain has a chance to intervene. He is surprised, yet again, to find himself envying animals their silence, their fatalism. Eating, being eaten, giving life, losing it. Animals swish through life, following a trajectory, never hesitating, never giving up, never changing their minds. They don´t even know crossroads exist, but are propelled like arrows from the divine bow, with only one mission: to complete the perfect arc, from birth to death, to teem from nothingness back to nothingness, gracefully and weightlessly. By comparison, human destinies strike him as so tortuous, so clumsy, heavy and compromised.

Parallels
  • Chez Moi by Agnes Desarthe
  • Telling Lies: A Novel by Sophie Marceau

Books with similar mood

Vertigo

W G Sebald

Kintu

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

Red Clocks

Leni Zumas

A God in Every Stone

Kamila Shamsie

Three Strong Women

Marie NDiaye

A Tale for the Time Being

Ruth Ozeki

The End

Salvatore Scibona

Tender Taxes

Jo Shapcott

The Tryst

Monique Roffey

The Age of Magic

Ben Okri

The Summer We Got Free

Mia McKenzie

The Barbarian Nurseries

Hector Tobar

The Calligrapher's Secret

Rafik Schami

The Library of Shadows

Mikkel Birkegaard

The Bastard of Istanbul

Elif Shafak

The Feast of Love

Charles Baxter

The Last Friend

Tahar Ben Jelloun

Fly Already

Etgar Keret

The People in the Trees

Hanya Yanagihara

Kapow!

Adam Thirlwell

Villa Pacifica

Kapka Kassabova

The Democrat

Olly Wyatt

A Book for All and None

Clare Morgan

Cockroach

Rawi Hage

Pynter Bender

Jacob Ross

Girl in a Garden

Lesley Chamberlain

The Love Artist

Jane Alison

Wake Up

Tim Pears

Love in Idleness

Charlotte Mendelson

Saving Lucia

Anna Vaught

The Masked City

Genevieve Cogman

Black Moses

Alain Mabanckou

The Underground

Hamid Ismailov

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Neil Gaiman

Frog

Mo Yan

Madame Mephisto

A M Bakalar

The Last Warner Woman

Kei Miller

The Wonder

Diana Evans

Of Bees and Mist

Erick Setiawan

Consolation

Anna Gavalda

The Birthday Party

Panos Karnezis

Cold Earth

Sarah Moss

A Beggar at the Gate

Thalassa Ali

My Phantom Husband

Marie Darrieussecq

The Biographer's Tale

A S Byatt

China Mountain Zhang

Maureen F McHugh

Pyrrhus

Mark Merlis

The Book of Fathers

Miklos Vamos

Claire of the Sea Light

Edwidge Danticat