Anne-Marie the Beauty
"I was bored with my husband," says Anne-Marie, the irrepressible voice of Anne-Marie la Beauté, "but you know, boredom is part of love." Mostly she is speaking here of her more famous friend and colleague, the French actress Giselle Fayolle, in whose shadow she has spent her career. "My life was a near miss," she adds, before explaining that she enunciated well because "I loved to say the words." A very short novel with the power and resonance of a much longer one, Anne-Marie la Beauté is a profound and moving act of remembrance, a clear-eyed assessment of the hard-edged nature of fame, a meditation on aging--and a wonderfully observant and comic exploration of human foibles. In short, another thought-provoking master class in how we perform life by the peerless Yasmina Reza.
“People say the happiest lives are the least eventful… this is what Anne-Marie Millie thinks before she reflects on the kind of funeral urn she would like - a discreetly engraved elegant brass model. Yasmina Reza’s Anne-Marie the Beauty translated by Alison L Strayer (Seven Stories Press, 55pp) is the French writer’s latest fiction to be published in English (after Babylon in 2018). The heroine is an ageing actor looking back on the events of a life played out in a stubbornly minor key. Moving from the provinces to Paris, she achieves moderate success in lesser-known companies but is sheltered from bitterness by a ready wit and and unyielding sense of self.”– Michael Cronin, The Irish Times