The Lady and the Little Fox Fur – Violette Leduc

41B-y41zdhL._AC_US436_QL65_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.

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3 thoughts on “The Lady and the Little Fox Fur – Violette Leduc

  1. Just read this after a loan from a friend 🙂 It’s a very impressive text, almost a prose poem, using language to bend time and reality. It’s also a daring love letter to Paris and its gritty corners through the eyes of a flaneuse, one who inadvertently puts the everyday features of the city – the grumpy grocer and the overhead metro line – on a par with its touristic tropes – the lights, the book kiosks, the river. It’s one option to interpret the woman’s struggle as sad, but I wonder if that’s the author’s intent. How deserving of our pity, for example, does Leduc want her to be? Her life might be seen as passive, an existence, no more important than the coffee beans she counts, or the broken stay on her window. She, like the people she recalls from her youth, will soon be gone. And what are we to make of that?

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    1. That was quick; it is a compelling read. I couldn’t help but compare it to Jean Rhys’ heroines. Who are also flaneuses and do not invite or wish sympathy, but still manage to pull at our heartstrings. I hope you felt it was worth reading.

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