Violette Toussaint is the caretaker at a cemetery in a small town in Bourgogne. Random visitors, regulars, and her colleagues—three gravediggers, three groundskeepers, and a priest—visit her to warm themselves in her lodge, where laughter, companionship, and occasional tears mix with the coffee that she offers them. Her daily life is lived to the rhythms of their hilarious and touching confidences.
Violette’s routine is disrupted one day by the arrival of a man—Julien Seul, local police chief—who insists on depositing the ashes of his recently departed mother on the gravesite of a complete stranger. It soon becomes clear the grave Julien is looking for belongs to his mother’s one-time lover, and that his mother’s story of clandestine love is intertwined with Violette’s own secret grief.
With Fresh Water for Flowers, Valérie Perrin gives readers the funny, moving, intimately told story of a woman who believes obstinately in happiness. Perrin has the rare talent of illuminating the exceptional and the poetic in what seems ordinary. A delightful, atmospheric, absorbing fairy tale full of poetry, generosity, and warmth.
Valérie Perrin is a photographer and screenwriter who works with Claude Lelouch. Her first novel, Les Oubliés du Dimanche, won numerous prizes including the 2016 Lire Élire and Poulet-Malassis.