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Edition details


Publication date
15th May 2017



Extent (number of pages)

Alison Anderson


UK & Commonwealth (excluding ANZ)

BIC category



/ / /

The Life of Elves

(La Vie des Elfes)


Two foundling girls hundreds of miles apart discover a unique bond that will help them fight the forces of evil.


This title is not yet published, but can be pre-ordered


Two foundling girls hundreds of miles apart discover a unique bond that will help them fight the forces of evil.

The villagers had never seen anything like it: dense white curtains of snow that instantly transformed the landscape. Not in autumn, not here in Burgundy. And on the same night a baby was discovered, dark-eyed little Maria, who would transform all their lives.

Hundreds of miles away in the mountains of Abruzzo, another foundling, Clara, astonishes everyone with her extraordinary talent for piano-playing. But her gifts go far beyond simple musicianship.

As a time of great danger looms, though the girls know nothing of each other, it is the bond that unites them and others like them, which will ultimately offer the only chance for good to prevail in the world.

‘An enigmatic and beguiling fairy tale … Barbery explores the mystical connections between nature, art and the human heart with vividness and clarity’ New York Times
‘This is a truly enchanting story, beautifully told and rich in meaning. (…) this book truly deserves to be read by story lovers of all ages.’ The Irish Times
‘Vivid imagery and a thread of mystery draw readers into the timeless and ethereal world’ Booklist
‘A hymn to music, art, nature, love, land (“terroir”), the dignity of work, simplicity and the yearning for peace’ The Australian
‘A beautifully written fantasy.’ Breakaway Reviewers
‘Glows with finely crafted prose’ LA Review of Books
‘Fans of both Barbery and fantasy from writers like Alice Hoffman and Sarah Addison Allen will be enchanted’ Library Journal
Bonus Material
Download Title Information Sheet
Reading Group Questions
Muriel Barbery on ‘The Life of Elves’
Beauty, Harshness and Poetry on ‘The Life of Elves’
‘The Life of Elves’ and the Japanese Connection
It’s Elves who are Elegant Now (New York Times)

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Muriel Barbery

Meet the author

Muriel Barbery is a former lecturer in philosophy and the bestselling author of IMPAC-shortlisted novel The Elegance of the Hedgehog. Published in France in 2006 and in the UK in 2008, it has gone on to sell more than 6 million copies worldwide and has been described by Le Figaro as ‘the publishing…

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