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THE LADY AND THE LITTLE FOX FUR by Violette Leduc
Translated by Derek Coltman
An old lady walks the streets of Paris. She is hungry, poor, quite possibly a little mad. Her day is ordered around the rattling of the Metro that shakes her squalid apartment every few minutes, around the street vendors who sometimes tolerate, sometimes pity and sometimes shoo her, and around the detritus that those who pack the promenades simply pass by. Mostly, she cares about a discarded fox fur she has found - it is her friend, her confidante, her only source of warmth and comfort.
Leduc’s exquisite little book ranks among the best I’ve read in what might be called the literature of the cosmopolitan downtrodden (think Szabo’s The Door or Alameddine’s An Unnecessary Woman). Every tiny detail becomes a thing of beauty in the old lady’s eyes; she converses joyfully with inanimate objects, lovingly ponders minutiae, brings everything and everyone she encounters to vivd, extravagant life. For all her setbacks, the old lady remains curious, funny, determined. Optimistic even. It felt like a privilege to be with her. The Lady and the Little Fox Fur is a majestic work of dignity, compassion and decency that, in its grace, manages to elevate both its subject and its reader.
The Lady and the Little Fox Fur by Violette Leduc (Tr. Derek Coltman)