'Violette Leduc's novels are works of genius and also a bit peculiar' Deborah Levy, from the introduction
An old woman lives alone in a tiny attic flat in Paris, counting out coffee beans every morning beneath the roar of the overhead metro. Starving, she spends her days walking around the city, each step a bid for recognition of her own existence. She rides crowded metro carriages to feel the warmth of other bodies, and watches the hot batter of pancakes drip from the hands of street-sellers.
One morning she awakes with an urgent need to taste an orange; but when she rummages in the bins she finds instead a discarded fox fur scarf. The little fox fur becomes the key to her salvation, the friend who changes her lonely existence into a playful world of her own invention.
The Lady and the Little Fox Fur is a stunning portrait of Paris, of the invisibility we all feel in a big city, and ultimately of the hope and triumph of a woman who reclaims her place in the world.
'A moving, beautiful and authentic classic. We must be grateful to the Penguin European Writers series, a precious venture in these dark times, for bringing it back to us.' John Banville, Booker prize-winning author of The Sea
'The great French feminist writer we need to remember' Guardian
A forceful affirmation of the human spirit
Violette Leduc's novels are works of genius and also a bit peculiar
She can capture the smells of a country childhood, dazzle with the lights of the Place de la Concorde or make you feel the silky slither of her eel-grey suit
This book is as richly humane as anything else you're likely to read
What is important about Violette Leduc is the extraordinary perfection she brings to experience and the exquisite skill she uses to describe it
The great French feminist writer we need to remember
A vastly under-read author
Leduc's short book is magnificently disproportionate to its length. A moving, beautiful and authentic classic. We must be grateful to the Penguin European Writers series, a precious venture in these dark times, for bringing it back to us.
In this interview with Five Dials, Deborah Levy, discusses The Cost of Living, the next instalment in her trilogy of 'living autobiographies'