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Title: The Most Beautiful Book in the World: Eight Novellas
Author: Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt
Date Read: September 4th – September 26th, 2016
Date Reviewed: September 26th, 2016
Introduction: I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. I wanted to read this because I was lacking in anthologies as of lately – I had almost none on my shelf!
Spoilers Ahead?: No.
Quick Summary: This anthology is full of eight different novellas that are not related. They are cute, short stories that are sure to entertain the reader. These are merely eight random stories, nothing that is to hard for the average reader to comprehend, and nothing sci-fi or crazy plot wise. It is a set of contemporary fiction novellas.
Evaluations: Some stories spoke more to me than others, but all eight of them were beautifully written. I enjoyed each novella as they came, and even though it took me a while to get through the novel, that was merely because I wanted to read one story at a time. If a reader goes in expecting a simple, entertaining read, than this book is for them!
Overall, I enjoyed this book, but it wasn’t extraordinary. It was just a good read.
Plot: Each of the plots are finished within each story. I was thoroughly impressed by Mr. Schmitt’s writing. Many authors create a fictional world within their novellas and then the reader is left craving more. Mr. Schmitt sums each story up perfectly and the endings left me feeling complete. I did not require more and I did not require less – so bravo to this fabulous author.
Themes/Creativity: When I read over other reviews of this novel, it was clear either readers swung one way or the other. You hate this set of novellas, or you love it. If you are expecting a grande, exquisite set of stories then this anthology is not for you. It is contemporary, French literature, and readers should be aware of this coming in. The stories are creative in their own right, with each being different from the rest. They are fast past, they have a simple narrative and they are not super sophisticated. I couldn’t find any themes, but I would say this little anthology is creative.
Uniqueness: Each story is unique in their own way. Some of the stories, such as the first Wanda Winnipeg, may put the reader off if they are not fully invested in the anthology. Some of the stories are brighter and more unique than others, while some of them are simply plot driven and simple minded. Since this anthology was originally in French, I would have loved to read the French version without translation, because there may have been some words lost in translation.
Strengths: Mr. Schmitt’s plot driven writing is by far one of the best strengths. He gets to the point and writes a wonderful story!
Weaknesses: I found that the sophistication within these stories was very bland. I would have loved some grander stories, but perhaps the book was not meant to be grande and sophisticated.
Score: 4 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed the novel, but I hoped for a little bit more. I would definitely read more wrote by Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt in the future.