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Edition details


Publication date
3rd May 2016


Gallic Books

Extent (number of pages)

Alison Anderson


UK & Commonwealth (excluding ANZ)

BIC category
F / FM


The Life of Elves

(La Vie des Elfes)


The highly anticipated new novel from the acclaimed author of The Elegance of the Hedgehog.

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The highly anticipated new novel from the acclaimed author of The Elegance of the Hedgehog.

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.

‘Vivid imagery and a thread of mystery draw readers into the timeless and ethereal world of these young girls with a destiny to fulfill.’ Booklist
‘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
‘An emotional, entertaining examination of magic in the modern world’ France Today
‘A hymn to music, art, nature, love, land (“terroir”), the dignity of work, simplicity and the yearning for peace.’The Australian
‘A beguiling fairy tale.’ The New York Times
‘This novel glows with finely crafted prose.’ Los Angeles Review of Books
‘A beautifully written fantasy.’ Breakaway Reviewers
‘Fans of both Barbery and fantasy from writers like Alice Hoffman and Sarah Addison Allen will be enchanted.’Library Journal
‘…this fervent, idiosyncratic fable is undeniable evidence of a richly lyrical imagination.’ Kirkus Reviews
Bonus Material
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)
Muriel Barbery

Meet the author

Muriel Barbery is the author of four previous novels, including the IMPAC-shortlisted multimillion-copy bestseller The Elegance of the Hedgehog. She has lived in Kyoto, Amsterdam and Paris and now lives in the French countryside. Praise for Muriel Barbery ‘[The Life of Elves] could be read as an all…

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