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Book of the Week: The Cracks in Our Armor by Anna Gavalda

Updated: Sep 6, 2019

"The novelist returns to the genre that made her famous--the short story--with grace." --Le Figaro

"The voices heard in these seven stories, each entirely distinct from the others, are of the sort that permanently embed themselves in the memory." --Le Soir

In this collection of short stories in the first person, the reader is invited to step in the intimate universe of a variety of colourful, broken, momentary protagonists. From putting one’s dog to sleep as a strange coping mechanism to facing alcoholism or attempting to break free from one’s stifling, military milieu, the collection is filled with tales of suffering and salvation. These empathetic tales shed a new light on everyday struggles and moments of grace and encourage forgiveness and choosing love over hate, friendship over rivalry, family over bitterness - leaving past grievances behind.

Gavalda’s characters are solitary, lost creatures, depicted with great tenderness, and whose complex situations are both touching and humbling. The use of the first person allows the reader to dive deep into their psyche, and to experience more closely their doubts and vulnerabilities. Her style always strives for simplicity and truth to life.

“[Gavalda] has constructed a work that is remarkably intimate and alive. She possesses an incredible talent for modulating joys and sorrows […] And she so refines her sentences that you never sense her work, her effort―you just applaud the swing.” Lire

The Crack in Our Armor was published by Europa Editions and it was translated by Alison Anderson.

Born in Paris in 1970, Anna Gavalda published her first work in 1999 while working as a high school French teacher. Her first published work was the critically acclaimed collection of short stories I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere, which sold over half a million copies in her native France and was published in the US by Penguin in 2003. Gavalda has since published three novels, all of which have become bestsellers across Europe. Her first novel, Someone I Loved, was adapted to film in 2009 and her novel Hunting and Gathering was made into a film starring Audrey Tatou and Daniel Auteil. Gavalda’s novels and short stories have been translated into over forty languages. She lives in Paris.

Alison Anderson works as a literary translator. Her translations include Europa Editions’ The Elegance of the Hedgehog  by Muriel Barbery, and works by Nobel laureate J. M. G. Le Clézio. She has also written two previous novels and is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Literary Translation Fellowship. She has lived in Greece and Croatia, and speaks several European languages, including Russian. Her forthcoming translations include A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cossé, and Amélie Nothomb's Hygiene and the Assassin.

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