The international bestselling story collection. “Truth and beauty are here brought together with all the visual beauty and power of a major literary work” (Lire Magazine, France).
One of Europe’s most popular and bestselling authors, Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt captivates the reader with his spirited style and enchanting stories that move effortlessly from the everyday to the fantastical. The eight stories in this collection, his first to be published in English, represent his best and most imaginative storylines: from the touching and surprising love story between Balthazar, a wealthy author, and Odette, a shop clerk, to the tale of a barefooted princess; from the moving title story about a group of female prisoners in a Soviet gulag to the entertaining portrait of a perennially disgruntled perfectionist. Behind each story lies a simple, if elusive, truth: Though we may be frequently blind to it, happiness is often right in front of our eyes.
“Eight well-developed, engaging stories by French novelist Schmitt delineate the complex emotional lives of women and their nettlesome men. . . . Schmitt’s stories capture a quirky, clever, feminist, very French sensibility.” —Publishers Weekly
“A born story-teller with a talent for telling ostensibly simple tales, each suggestive of a philosophy of life, Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt takes the lid off the lives of eight women in eight contrasting portraits, each time with thought-provoking piquancy and suspense, that lead to an arresting and delightful end.” —La Libre Belgique (Belgium)
“Schmitt’s tales echo Maupassant’s with their lean narratives, surprise endings, mordant humor and psychological acuity . . . Fairy tales and realistic studies happily coexist in this elegant collection.” —Kirkus Reviews