Original book title: La petite fille de Monsieur Linh
Author: Philippe Claudel
Publisher: Norstedt, 144 pages
Year of publication: 2005
This is the story of an old man who leaves his homeland on a boat. In his arms he holds a light suitcase and a newborn baby. The old man is called Monsieur Linh. He is the only one who knows he is called so, for all who have known it is dead. So begins this short but oh so wonderful book. We follow Monsieur Linh when he first arrives at the new foreign country. We follow him while he is trying to take in all that is foreign to him. One day, he decides to take a walk.
He wanders around the neighborhood with the newborn baby close to him and on a park bench, he meets Monsieur Bark. An open-heart older man who carries a lot of pain with him. Between them friendship grows despite the fact that none of them understand each other’s language.
This is a little masterpiece that is also an easy read. With poetic language Claudel tells a mild but heavy history. He portrays the human ability to find life’s bright moments in the midst of the deepest darkness. Claudel’s language is fantastic and full of beautiful metaphors.
Although this book holds a steady speed through all human emotions it takes nevertheless a turnaround in the end that causes the heart to lose fortress. This is a gripping story that explores deep into man’s best and worst moments and then find the gems.
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