French Leave by Anna Gavalda Summary
In French Leave four siblings are reunited one afternoon after skipping out on a dull family wedding. They leave behind needy spouses, annoying relatives, and the dull demands of encroaching adulthood for one final, riotous and joyous adventure in each other's company. Garance, her sister Lola, brother Simon and his overbearing wife are driving through the French countryside on their way to a family wedding in Podunk-on-Indre. Once they arrive and discover the real occasion to celebrate is the fact that they are together again, the three siblings realize what they really want to do is visit their youngest brother Vincent, who is working as a tour guide at a château in the heart of the enchanting province of Touraine. The siblings jump back in their car and race away, then talk Vincent into playing hooky in order to all hang out like they used to. For the remainder of that afternoon, over drinks and delicious food at a campsite where Vincent lives, the four siblings lose themselves in the laughter of inside jokes, teasing and memories that unite them. As simply and as spontaneously as the adventure began, it ends with each returning back to their respective lives, but with a new welcoming of the years ahead. Getting its title from the phrase meaning to take one's leave suddenly, with no warning and without permission, French Leave is full of feeling and a wonderful treat of a novel that captures a final moment of youth between a group of brothers and sisters before life truly gets in the way.