I’ve read a few books lately that I haven’t liked very much at all – even one by a Big-Name French author that left me utterly indifferent. By contrast, when I read Oscar et la dame rose, by Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt, I thought it was simply beautiful, both for its story and the poetry of the language.
The story is a series of letters from Oscar, a little boy with leukemia, to God. Oscar is not religious, but a hospital volunteer, whom Oscar calls la dame rose, urges him to write to God when it’s clear that he only has a couple of weeks to live. In that short time, Oscar, guided by his wise friend, finds love and friendship and makes peace with his parents. It was a sweet, rich story that I won’t soon forget.
The book is available in English as Oscar and the Lady in Pink. The French version would be achievable by an intermediate reader. Since the story is told from Oscar’s point of view, there is quite a bit of informal vocabulary that you may need to look up here and there. Once I was into it, I realized this this was part of a group of eight novels called le Cycle de l’invisible that deal with the theme of spirituality, each from the point of view of a different religion. I had read the most famous one years ago, Monsieur Ibrahim et les fleurs du Coran, which was also made into a movie. I’ll certainly looking for more books by this author. Lucky for me, he seems to publish at least one book a year, so I’ve got a deep back-stock to enjoy.