Tita is seven, and she wonders what’s wrong with her. She has perfect parents. She revels in the Latin rituals of small-town Catholic life in the south of France in the late fifties. She puts on plays with her friends, spies on adults, challenges her teacher, manages to read forbidden books. She should be happy. But she dreams of a life without meals, and keeps worrying about her mother’s whereabouts, spoiling her own life for no reason at all. Is she a freak?
Tita is published by Summertime Publications
ISBN 978-1-940333-01-4, pubdate: September 15, 2014
“Marie Houzelle is a master of the first-person narrative. In Tita she has created a strange, utterly original child whose deadpan certainties are a beguiling invitation to readers of all ages. Tita is a remarkable debut.” Katharine Weber, author of Triangle and True Confections“
The best book I read this year. Witty, wry, and clever, Tita’s young voice captivated me from the first page. Tita poignantly portrays small-town life as well as the end of the Catholic church’s grip on France, revealing cracks in society that a decade later become the riots of 1968. A rare novel written in English that gives a real taste of French culture. I cannot recommend it enough!” Janet Skeslien Charles, author of Moonlight in Odessa
“This book has a charm so unique and powerful, it pulls you in simply, effortlessly, like following a tree lined path on a summery day. The language is utterly original and quietly moving and very very funny and it makes you want to follow Tita onward past the last pages and into the years beyond. I loved it.” Nicola Keegan, author of Swimming
“Like Roald Dahl’s Matilda, Tita, a precocious seven-year-old, finds refuge in books from an often baffling world. Guided by Marie Houzelle’s sharp eye and confident hand, we experience humour, astonishment and delight as we discover life in 1950s provincial France from the viewpoint of a singular child. A triumph of a first novel.” Yuriko Tamaki, columnist, The Yomiuri Shimbun.
“From the first page, the reader enters another place, another time, from the viewpoint of a precocious seven year old who announces at the start, “I’d like to be a nun. Or a saint.” Her teacher, mademoiselle Pélican, is not happy. As we step into this world in southern France, in the 1950’s, we are mesmerized by Tita’s stance on her parents, her siblings, her school Sainte-Blandine, and her wider surroundings. The author Marie Houzelle finds the quirky voice of a very smart seven year old, and we turn the pages with interest to learn how Tita will handle herself in the midst of so much tradition. As we readers reach the end of this delightful novel, we wonder not what will happen to Tita but who she will become. And we would ask the author to write the sequel, Tita perhaps at seventeen. Imagine!” Susan Tiberghien, author of One Year to a Writing Life and Looking for Gold
“Like opening the door to a secret garden, Tita transports the reader straight into life in a small town in southern France during the 1950s, as seen through the eyes of a precocious seven-year-old heroine not soon to be forgotten. Houzelle’s prose is unfailingly deft and refreshing. This book is a delight!” Anne Korkeakivi, author of An Unexpected Guest