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Bitter Almonds

Laurence Cossé | Translated by Alice Anderson | April 2, 2013

From the author of A Novel Bookstore comes this delightful story about friendship across racial and economic barriers set in contemporary Paris.

Édith can hardly believe it when she learns that Fadila, her sixty-year-old housemaid, is completely illiterate. How can a person living in Paris in the third millennium possibly survive without knowing how to read or write? How does she catch a bus, or pay a bill, or withdraw money from the bank? Why it's unacceptable! She thus decides to become Fadila's French teacher. But teaching something as complex as reading and writing to an adult is rather more challenging than she thought. Their lessons are short, difficult, and tiring. Yet, during these lessons, the oh-so-Parisian Édith and Fadila, an immigrant from Morocco, begin to understand one another as never before, and form this understanding will blossom a surprising and delightful friendship. Édith will enter into contact with a way of life utterly unfamiliar to her, one that is unforgiving at times, but also full of joy and dignity.

Translated by Alison Anderson (The Elegance of the Hedgehog, A Novel Bookstore, The Most Beautiful Book in the World)

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