Mathilde is twenty-four. She has abandoned her studies in art history in lieu of a menial job and lives in a house she shares with twin sisters. One day she forgets her bag in a café and a week later an unknown man returns it to her. Following this encounter, Mathilde decides to throw caution to the wind and change her life entirely. Yann is twenty-six, a university graduate, unemployed. There may be better days ahead. Perhaps. While waiting for them, he works as a sales assistant in a home appliances store. He wouldn’t say he is unhappy. But sometimes when he is crossing a bridge over the Seine River at night, he imagines jumping. One day he does a favor for one of his neighbors and is asked to stay for dinner as thanks. The following morning Yann throws caution to the wind and decides to change his life entirely. These two novellas by best-selling author Anna Gavalda are among her most moving and inspiring. Love in this book is a fragile emotion, easily ruined and eternally subject to the choices one makes in life. Gavalda’s great gift is her ability to reach readers who will feel as if she is addressing them directly in a voice that is inventive, forceful, yet intimate. Life, Only Better is a touching, cleverly crafted book about choices and their consequences.
Born in Paris in 1970, Anna Gavalda published her first work in 1999 while working as a high school French teacher. Her first published work was the critically acclaimed collection of short stories I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere, which sold over half a million copies in her native France and was published in the US by Penguin in 2003. Gavalda has since published three novels, all of which have become bestsellers across Europe. Her first novel, Someone I Loved, was adapted to film in 2009 and her novel Hunting and Gathering was made into a film starring Audrey Tatou and Daniel Auteil. Gavalda’s novels and short stories have been translated into over forty languages. She lives in Paris.