Claire's Reviews > Gratitude

Gratitude by Delphine de Vigan
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A relatively short and simple tale told from the perspective of two people who encounter Michka, Marie who has known her since childhood, the girl upstairs who knocked on her neighbours door and whose lives became entwined from then on and Jérôme, the orthophonist/speech therapist who visits her periodically in the care home she spent her days in, when words began to leave her.

It is Marie who in the opening pages questions what it means to have gratitude and how to show it to or for someone who has been important in one's life. And Jérôme wishes there was a forewarning system, to let us know when someone's time is imminent.

The narrative switches between the two as first Marie recalls the day everything changed, when Michka lost her independence and then moments are shared while he is in care, Michka's conversation affected by her asphasia, the impairment of her use of language, other words jump ahead pushing out the one she wishes to say.

It is a slice of life and a look into that part of it that is imperfect, that part when some have to be at the mercy of others, in a facility that diminishes the end, possibly brings it on more quickly.

Michka has an unresolved matter to deal with and in her sessions with Jérome, which she often sabotages to question him about his father, she tells him of her regret, the thing she is unable to do for herself. Time is running out.

Gratitude is a life-affirming read, even if there are sad undertones, showing there exist all manner of souls around, those that want to hurry us along, and those that without expectation of reward are willing to go out of their way to help another.

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Reading Progress

September 22, 2020 – Shelved
September 22, 2020 – Shelved as: to-read
September 22, 2020 – Shelved as: around-the-world
September 22, 2020 – Shelved as: fiction
September 22, 2020 – Shelved as: french-literature
September 22, 2020 – Shelved as: women-in-translation
September 22, 2020 – Shelved as: translated
January 19, 2021 – Started Reading
January 19, 2021 – Shelved as: around-the-world-2021
January 19, 2021 – Shelved as: france
January 19, 2021 –
January 20, 2021 –
47.0% "Michka is losing her words, other words sneak in to take the place of the one she is searching for.
She is also searching for the couple who cared for her as a child, but she doesn't know their surname.
She never had children, never wanted to.
But a little girl Marie, found her, descending to ring her doorbell, entering her life, awakening her nurturing aspect.
Now Marie visits her. Listens, Says yes.
January 21, 2021 –
86.0% "As Mischka fades, losing more words, her past reappears, a mystery arises. Mystery or degradation of mind?
The interruptions to Jerome's speech therapy exercises, as she tries to pry information out of him about his father he doesn't talk to.
Intriguing. Sad, a sense of running out of time, at the same time as a relief not to have to endure this state for too long, the catch 22 of old age and a deteriorating mind."
January 21, 2021 – Finished Reading

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