The reactions to this book seem to be polarized, including my own since I was totally suckered in, with enough attention paid to my head for it to find the way to my heart. Despite not sharing her love for Tolstoy, I found much to empathize with in Madame Michel's concierge--age, class, the difficulty of straddling cultures, the whole scattershot nature of an autodidact. The ending does disappoint in its droll suddenness but wasn't enough to spoil the whole.
Also having recently lost a close friend, I'm in need of a gentle sort of balm these days and I found it here, as in Kundera's Unbearable Lightness...
which I also read recently.
Is it banal to say that some of life's banality and the ordinariness of being is precisely what we cling to when we think about dying?