Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt – Les Perroquets de la place d’Arezzo


Love in all its forms

For something that is advertised as a novel, this book is rather a massive anthology of short stories that revolve around the residents of Place d’Arezzo, in Brussels. The thread that links the stories is a mysterious yellow letter delivered to the characters who inhabit the square. Penned by an unknown hand, the identical message is intended to disrupt many a life: This card is just to say I love you. Signed, you know who. This deft trick allows the author to explore the feeling of love in its many forms: there is a sex-crazed politician, a high profile mistress, adolescents coping with first loves, a gay couple who came out but still live their homosexuality as a secret. This book is a collection of stories and characters, written in a light and really enjoyable prose, though devoid of the dreamlike poetic quality of Schmitt’s other works. Perfect summer reading.

Translation by Silvia Accorrà (edited by Allison Steenson)