Delicacy, by French author David Foenkinos, is a quiry romance between a beautiful, young widow, Natalie, and her plain and insecure colleague, Markus. Natalie has had the perfect marriage and has been grieving her husband's sudden death for the past three years. She impulsively kisses Markus one day after feeling the sudden stirring of passion. Little does she know that Markus, a Swedish Woody Allen, has been in love with her for years.

The book is a satire on office life, complete with nosy staff who reek of false sympathy and concern, as well as a clownish director who lusts for Natalie and hopes to take advantage of her grief. The chapters are brief, some being a mere one page. Foenkinos, a screenwriter, writes creatively and includes unusual footnotes and chapters on background trivia. All fit into this clever, short book.

Now a motion picture starring Audrey Tautou and Francois Damens, Delicacy is well-written and funny. The reflections of Markus as he analyzes his feelings throughout the affair deflect from the sadness inherent in Natalie. One criticism of the novella is that it falls short in its character development of Natalie. Aside from her beauty and aloofness, we are not privy to her inner thoughts. Still, the book is engaging.

Take it with you on a weekend trip. The plot is sure to please.

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