What a sad little story. The novella is only 80 pages long but in that length of time we learn all about the life of a destitute old woman living in Paris in the 1960’s. She can barely afford to feed herself and resorts to walking the streets to keep hunger at bay. Although she could be forgiven for crying on street corners or throwing herself under a train, she doesn’t. She rallies herself repeatedly and proves that some people are hard to break.
The other side of this is that she is probably a bit mad; she talks to the furniture! Leaving that aside, the language of the book is perfect, and just as in Orlando (my last review) the sense of place is excellent. We are in her shabby apartment, counting coffee beans, or walking the streets of Paris. The details in this book are exquisite.
Just as the book is short, so is my review. I would recommend you give this book a read and let it tug at your heartstrings. It has recently been republished by Penguin as part of their European Writers series, I think I may look at the others in the series.