Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Odette Toulemonde et autres histoires” as Want to Read:
Odette Toulemonde et autres histoires
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Odette Toulemonde et autres histoires

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  5,539 ratings  ·  474 reviews
"Cher monsieur Balsan,
Je n'écris jamais car, si j'ai de l'ortographe, je n'ai pas de poésie. Or, il me faudrait beaucoup de poésie pour vous raconter l'importance que vous avez pour moi. En fait, je vous dois la vie. Sans vous, je me serais tuée vingt fois.
Odette Toulemonde"

La vie a tout offert a l'écrivain Balthazar Balsan et rien à Odette Toulemonde. Pourtant, c'est elle
Paperback, 282 pages
Published November 1st 2006 by Albin Michel (first published January 17th 2006)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Odette Toulemonde et autres histoires, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Simona Stamate Actually the book is french.
And it's original name is "Odette Toulemonde et autres histoires".

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,539 ratings  ·  474 reviews

More filters
Sort order
This book.

This book does NOTHING.

I mean, the title was promising, and the woman on the cover seems to love the book she's reading, and Europa Editions seems to publish nice books (seems to, at least--I haven't had much luck with them yet), so I thought, well, maybe...

Nope. Didn't work. Maybe my expectations were a bit too high, maybe I'm reading too many other things at the moment (and I wasted my time on this when I could have been reading Doris Lessing or Gertrude Stein? Ack!), maybe I'm just
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
The reviews here are on opposite extremes: from the 1-2 stars (extremely annoying, does absolutely nothing, etc.) to the 4-5 stars (excellently written, highly recommended!, etc.) with a vast international audience who made reviews in English, Polish, French, German, Italian and perhaps a few other languages I don't recognize.

This is not a full-length novel but a collection of eight novellas (or maybe eight short stories but longer than the usual, or eight novels much shorter than the usual). So
Elizabeth La Lettrice
There are writers and there are storytellers. Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt is now on my list of storytellers.

I loved this book so much that I didn't know how to put it into words. Easily one of my favorite books this year...

...So I read some reviews -positive and negative- just to get some outside perspective. Here's what I came up with when I was done:

First of all, this is a collection of stories about women, most of which are narrated by women. Unlike another book that I read recently that was narrat
Erma Odrach
Oct 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The 8 stories, written in simple prose, are all stories about women - women dealing with heartbreak, love affairs, death, dementia.

In 'The Intruder', an elderly journalist, Odile, living alone in an apartment, keeps seeing an old lady. She calls out to her, "What are you doing in my house? How did you get in?" When she phones the police and they arrive, there is no one there. Was Odile's mind playing tricks on her? It's a very sad story.

'The Forgery' is about an aging mistress left abandoned by
Mar 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I could hardly put this book down; what a great storyteller Schmitt is! All the stories featured women who were dealing with different things in their lives (loves, death, dementia, disappointments, etc.), and their stories truly fascinated me.
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Wanda Winnipeg is a beautiful, rich, demanding woman who's made a successful career out of marrying rich men and then divorcing them. But what happens when she sees her first lover on the beach, now an old man and a failure of a painter?

Hélène likes everything just so, including her men, but has never been satisfied with what she's got - including her man. It is only after she loses something she didn't realise was so important to her, that she learns about the beauty of imperfection. But is it
Jan 17, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Teresa by: gift from a friend
The lack of subtlety in these stories is just not to my taste. The penultimate story seems very self-serving, as if the author is both answering his own literary critics and perhaps also trying to feed the romantic fantasies of his female readership, which come to think of it might be what most of these stories try to do. There were several stories I didn't intend to finish, but I went back and did so, because this was the last unread book I had in my backpack while on sleepless flights -- the e ...more
A collection of 8 stories, some of them pretty good, some not so much.
8 stories about happiness and how one should not look too far away to find it, happiness is in front of your eyes and these imaginative stories portray it too well. I enjoyed the simple style, the forward way of characters, the somewhat unbelievable happenings, yet down-to earth. A mixture of feelings cannot tell how this book made me feel.
Mrs A. Christmas
It trully is the most beautiful book in the world
Alex Reborn
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book to be charming and I truly enjoyed reading these the stories. They were uncommon, surprising and had unexpected endings. The subjects varied and the themes were thought-provoking, wondering myself how I would feel if I were to walk in the characters' shoes? I can't say I find them to be realistic, but I surely had a pleasant time reading them.
Jun 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love the way this author describes the stories of normal people and cares about them and his point of view. Every one of his short stories opens a door for us to a beautiful peaceful world and that's why I love all his books.
Briar's Reviews
Book Review:

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 t
In this collection of short stories, by the French author and filmmaker, character is held to the highest esteem. More importantly, though, these are stories about love. People in love. Marriages working and not working. Affairs are known and unknown, truths are revealed and in the process lives are altered. Wanda Winnipeg struggled out of poverty to become one of the wealthiest and most desirable women in the world, but she never forgot where she came from. The main character of "Every Reason t ...more
I've read some of Schmitt's best books (which,of course,all of 'em have been plays and NOT novellas or short stories) and I can say this is 100% his most ordinary book.
Just like Balthazar Balsan in the 'Odette Toulemonde' story, I think Schmitt must had been worried that this book of him might be too much of a mediocre book.The most annoying story to me was the last story,"The most beautiful book in the world".The most annoying page of the book to me was the last one and the most annoying line o
Camille P
Just read this book, in French, in one sitting. Also read quite a few comments. It seems the title in the English version isn't the same and retains the title of the last novel "the most beautiful book in the world". I'm surprised as to that choice of title in the English version, it seems quite vain, while the book doesn't seem so to me (I had the impression Schmitt wanted to emphasise the down-to-earth quiet but steady sort of sentiments his characters seem to feel)
I very much enjoyed the book
Erin Bomboy
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Virtually unknown in America, Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt is a beloved French author. While the title, The Most Beautiful Book in the World, leans toward hyperbole, it is, in fact, the name of the last and one of the most beautiful short stories in this collection of eight.

Save Wanda Winnipeg and The Barefoot Princess, which read like fairy tales penned by Jackie Collins, the stories reveal the drama inherent in quiet lives. Using a few details devastating in their precision, Schmitt sketches charact
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I just really don't think this collection of short stories was for me. The inside cover says it's about finding happiness after searching for it and realizing that it was there all along right in front of us. OK, great that sounds like it's going to be uplifting, maybe even inspirational. However... most of the women in these stories were horrible. They were mean, manipulative, rude, and just down right horrible people. There were only 2 stories in this that I read and didn't make me want to thr ...more
Feb 21, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
I don't see how this book could have been an international bestseller and the librarians thought it a good idea to display it at their main table so that peer pressured pees like me would glance at it, walk past it, and then pick it up again! Annoying run on sentences aside, I didn't like this book. period. The stories were nothing new and the themes were unrelated; it was anything but organized. I know some authors don't intend to link one story to another but this is a wish wash work of a scat ...more
May 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book of short stories. I don't particularly like short stories. These are exceptional; especially the title story. I squealed with delight at the ending. These stories remind me in a way of Flannery O'Connor's short stories but these are more gentle but as powerful.
Louis St-pierre
Apr 04, 2013 rated it did not like it
boring read. except for the last short story.

Skip the first 7.
Maria Savin
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I realized how much i like short stories!!
Larisa Dană
8 stories about life and love, an easy book for short breaks:) perfect for those moments when you don’t have the mood for a complex reading.
Jun 04, 2015 rated it liked it
I didn't expect much from this book. And it did met my expectations. It is pleasant and quick read for a holiday.
Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lovely short stories about life. Interesting and cute book!:)
Sep 28, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Most erroneous book title ever.
Simona GB
More than in other works of his, Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt, plays around the border of Clichés. One can speculate that in his seventh novella, Odette Toulemonde, he actually describes his own writing dilemma: are his books TOO romantic, too easy and commercial? Does the fact that he appeals more to housewives than to some literary critics mean that his literature is bad? I guess everyone has to decide that for herself. For me, many of his stories work. With some I can relate, a few made me smile, on ...more
Mar 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s a short a lovely books with even shorter novels that each leave a mark. I found it touching and very delicate.
Nov 19, 2017 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommendation from Carole Ann (@booksnourish_caroleann) - 11/19/2017
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
That. Title.

Not going to lie, but it was the title and the cover that drew me towards this book. Such an overtly arrogant title paired with a magical cover image of a woman reading in levitation, and I’m sold. I couldn’t wait to see for myself what the most beautiful book would look like.

It is, I’d say, a collection of heartwarming novellas. While there isn’t too much life and death drama, it portrays many female characters that may seem simple and ordinary at first but have surprising sides and
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Play Book Tag: The Most Beautiful Book in the World, Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, 4.5 stars 5 16 Jun 01, 2019 02:17AM  
Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt 4 114 May 31, 2019 08:58AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Homecoming Party
  • The German Mujahid
  • The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine
  • Pétronille
  • The Art Of Losing
  • A Novel Bookstore
  • Bone China
  • The Jewish Husband
  • The Sexual Life of an Islamist in Paris
  • Zulu
  • Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio
  • Limassol
  • A Kind of Intimacy
  • زن آینده
  • Everything Happens Today
  • I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere
  • Alfa Romeo 1300 and Other Miracles
  • Lorelei
See similar books…
A popular contemporary French author and dramatist, his plays are translated and staged in more than 30 countries all over the world.

He studied at the Lycée du Parc in Lyon and was accepted at the famous École normale supérieure in Paris (1980–1985), where he received a doctorate in philosophy. As the theme for his dissertation, he chose "Diderot and metaphysics". He spent three years teaching in
“Elle lui demanda en quoi un jour de pluie pouvait être beau : il lui énuméra les nuances de couleurs que prendraient le ciel, les arbres et les toits lorsqu'ils se promèneraient tantôt, de la puissance sauvage avec laquelle leur apparaîtrait l'océan, du parapluie qui les rapprocherait pendant la marche, de la joie qu'ils auraient à se réfugier ici pour un thé chaud, des vêtements qui sécheraient auprès du feu, de la langueur qui en découlerait, de l'opportunité qu'ils auraient de faire plusieurs fois l'amour, du temps qu'ils prendraient à se raconter leur vie sous les draps du lit, enfants protégés par une tente de la nature déchaînée...” 11 likes
“Women are pleasing because they come to us wrapped in the catkin of an enigma and they cease to please when they lose their intrigue.Do women believe that men are only interested in what's between their legs? That would be an error.:men are more attracted by a woman's romantic side than by her sexuality.” 9 likes
More quotes…