Set in the 1960s in Paris' Jewish quarter, Monsieur Ibrahim and the Flowers of the Koran is about a troubled Jewish boy, Moses, or Momo, who strikes up an unlikely friendship with a solitary Muslim shopkeeper named Monsieur Ibrahim. Momo's hilarious yet heart-wrenching story begins when he loses his virginity in a bordello at the age of 11. Ibrahim offers Momo his ear and advice and gradually teaches the precocious boy that there is more to life than whores and stealing groceries. When Momo's father, a passive-aggressive lawyer who neglects his son's well being, disappears and is found dead, Ibrahim adopts the orphaned boy. The two decide to make a trip across Europe to the birthplace of Monsieur Ibrahim that brings them to the most important crossroads of their lives. As this deeply funny and exquisitely crafted plot unravels, it reveals how we learn the most essential lessons of life and death when we expect them the least.
Oscar and the Lady in Pink gives us an entirely different tale of love and courage. Oscar is ten years old and dying of leukemia. He knows that his bone marrow transplant has failed, but the only person in the hospital who will talk to him about dying is his beloved Mamie-Rose, an elderly volunteer who visits the sick children. When it becomes clear that Oscar's time is growing short, Mamie-Rose gives him an idea: he should pretend that every day he lives represents the passage of ten years, and at the end of each day he should write down his experiences as a letter to God so that he might feel less alone. With Mamie-Rose as his guide, Oscar begins an uplifting journey through days made fuller by the richness of his imagination and spirit.
Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt has given us two illuminating tales about suffering, love, compassion, and faith in both God and humanity. These stories are guaranteed to make readers laugh, cry, and stop to reflect on the grace and wonder that can be found in every heart.
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Published January 1, 2004
by Other Press.
Literature & Fiction.