The title story is the tale of two friends with very different personalities—one competitive and aggressive, the other kind and disinterested. They are confronted with circumstances that lead to a catharsis in which both men will move beyond their predetermined roles. Another story, “The Return,” introduces a father whose work takes him far from home for months at a time. Over the years, the names, faces and personalities of his wife and children have blurred in his memory, a fact that comes cruelly to light when, while on a trip, he learns that one of his daughters has died but can’t recall exactly which one it is. In his confusion he begins asking himself which daughter he would miss most—a heartless question but one that will bring him to recognize his failings as a man and as a father.
Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, playwright, novelist, and author of short stories, was awarded the French Academy’s Grand Prix du Théâtre in 2001. He is one of Europe’s most popular authors. His many novels and story collections include The Most Beautiful Book in the World (Europa Editions 2009) and The Woman with the Bouquet (Europa Editions 2010). Visit the author's official web site