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A number 1 bestseller in France and translated into over twenty-five languages, Billie is one of the most beloved French novels to be published in recent years. A brilliant evocation of contemporary Paris and a moving tale of friendship, Anna Gavalda’s new novel tells the story of two young people, Billie and Franck, who, as the story opens, are trapped in a gorge in the Cévennes Mountains. Billie begins to tell stories from their lives in order to calm herself and Franck as darkness encroaches. In alternating episodes, the novel moves between recollections of the two characters’ childhoods and their dire predicament.
Franck’s life has been impacted by a childhood spent with a perennially unemployed father who toyed with Christian extremism and a mother aestheticized by antidepressants. A bright kid, Franck’s future was menaced at every turn by the bigotry surrounding him. As for Billie, her abiding wish as an adult is to avoid ever having to come into contact with her family again. To escape from her abusive and alcohol-addled family, she was willing to do anything and everything. The wounds have not entirely healed.
At the heart of Gavalda’s moving story lies a generosity of spirit that will take readers’ breath away, and an unshakable belief in the power of art to lift the most fragile among us to new vistas from which they can see futures full of hope, love, and dignity. Billie is a beautifully crafted novel for readers of all ages and from all walks of life that conveys a positive message about overcoming life’s trials and tribulations.
About the Author
Born in Paris in 1970, Anna Gavalda’s 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 Riverhead in 2003. She is also the author of Someone I Loved and the international bestseller Hunting and Gathering (Riverhead, 2007), which was made into a film starring Audrey Tautou and Daniel Auteuil. Gavalda lives in Paris.
Jennifer Rappaport received a BA in English and French from Vassar College and an MA in comparative literature from New York University, where she was awarded a Chateaubriand Fellowship from the French government. A former editor at Oxford University Press and the New Press, she is currently a freelance editor and translator in New York.
Praise for Billie
"Billie is a revelation! It's Gavalda's finest noel yet."
“The work is a testament to Gavalda’s fine storytelling skills, which remain true even in the books’ translation into English.” - Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Gavalda's sparkling impertinence and her childlike joie de vie are irresistible."
—Marie Claire (France)
"A sensitive, delicate, funny, immensley readable story."
—Olivia de Lamberterie, France 2
"Gavalda's books have both wit and a whimsical charm."
—The Sunday Telegraph
"Gavalda has tapped into a mood that many people share."
"Anna Gavalda's novels make her a distant cousin of Dorothy Parker."
"Precision, tenderness for her characters, a sense of detail, and an intoxicating mix of nostalgia and pure joy make Anna Gavalda a unique author."