Published: 2012 by Pan Books
Read: July 2013
Trivia Tidbit: The House I Loved was first published in French as Rose
Full Disclosure: I purchased this one (paperback)
Rose's definition of fighting against the destruction of her neighbourhood is markedly different to mine, even allowing for the passage of nearly 150 years. Rose's version of fighting is hiding in her house while the workmen approach, relying on the kindness of a local ragpicker who brings her food, lying to her friends and family about her whereabouts and writing letters to her dead husband Armand to pass the time. A protest, sure, but not a fight.
The details of Rose's life in the house on rue Childebert are relayed to the reader via letters she writes to Armand. She reflects on their life together, the family they raised and the changes in Rose's life in the ten years since Armand died. This story would have been better told in 'real time' rather than via this clunky device. The language is formal to the point of distraction ('His was pleasurable company, I will concede') - certainly not reflective of the relationship between spouses who were as deeply committed to each other as Rose and Armand.
This book was originally published in French, the author's first language. Maybe it suffers in the translation, or maybe it tries to be so many different things it fails to be anything at all. Disappointing.