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by Alex Miller

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252983,941 (3.76)23
Seeking shelter in a Parisian cafe from a sudden rainstorm, John Patterner meets the exotic Sabiha and his carefully mapped life changes forever.
  1. 00
    The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (jll1976)
    jll1976: There is the obvious 'Paris connection'. But, also a similar slow almost dreamlike quality. About the beauty of a 'simple' life.

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A beautiful gentle story of love and heartache, and keeping on, and staying together. This is the first novel of Alex Miller I have read, and I am keen to discover more of his writings. ( )
  Carole46 | Feb 14, 2016 |
Shortly after Ken (an author) meets John, John gets to chatting about his history: the time he spent in Paris (Ken and John now live in Australia), how he met his wife, Sabiha (an immigrant from Tunisia), and their life running a cafe before coming (returning, in John's case) to Australia. There is a small side-story with Ken and his daughter, as well.

I started off liking it, and it still ended ok, but I downgraded my rating slightly because I ended up not really liking any of the characters. I really disliked Sabiha more than anyone else, but I really didn't much like anyone, except maybe Ken. I have a hard time liking a book when I don't like the characters. It's not a fast-paced book. ( )
  LibraryCin | Nov 9, 2015 |
My first foray into the works of Alex Miller and I think I'll be back for more. I really liked the chapters which were set in the narrator's current life, in which he lived in Melbourne with his adult daughter. I also found significant insights in the sub-plot set in France in which the roles of men, women, mothers and fathers are delineated. I didn't relate so well to the Tunisian cultural references ( )
  oldblack | Oct 8, 2015 |
It seems I have found a 'new' author. I know this guy has been around, and writing for more than 30 years, but I had honestly never heard of him until recently. I'm so glad I did though. This guy can write.

http://wp.me/p1zSnI-4P ( )
  jll1976 | Nov 12, 2011 |
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I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the wild does: do not stir up or awaken love until it is ready! The Song of Solomon.
For Stephanie and for our children Ross and Kate and for Erin
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When we first came to live in this area in the seventies there was a drycleaners next door to the bottle shop.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Seeking shelter in a Parisian cafe from a sudden rainstorm, John Patterner meets the exotic Sabiha and his carefully mapped life changes forever.

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Strangers did not, as a rule, find their way to Chez Dom, a small, rundown Tunisian cafe on Paris' distant fringes. Run by the widow Houria and her young niece, Sabiha, the cafe offers a home away from home for the North African immigrant workers working at the great abattoirs of Vaugiraud, who, like them, had grown used to the smell of blood in the air. But when one day a lost Australian tourist, John Patterner, seeks shelter in the cafe from a sudden Parisian rainstorm, the quiet simplicities of their lives are changed forever.John is like no-one Sabiha has met before - his calm grey eyes promise her a future she was not yet even aware she wanted. Theirs becomes a contented but unlikely marriage - a marriage of two cultures lived in a third - and yet because they are essentially foreigners to each other, their love story sets in train an irrevocable course of tragic events. Years later, living a small, quiet life in suburban Melbourne, what happened at Vaugiraud seems like a distant, troubling dream to Sabiha and John, who confides the story behind their seemingly ordinary lives to Ken, an ageing, melancholy writer. It is a story about home and family, human frailties and passions, raising questions of morals and purpose - questions have no simple answer.Lovesong is a simple enough story in many ways - the story of a marriage, of people coming undone by desire, of ordinary lives and death, love and struggle - but when told with Miller's distinctive voice, which is all intelligence, clarity and compassion, it has a real gravitas, it resonates and is deeply moving. Into the wonderfully evoked contemporary settings of Paris and Melbourne, memories of Tunisian family life, culture and its music are tenderly woven.
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Average: (3.76)
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