Slim volume. Quirky characters, quiet quirky story. But all very likeable. The cats, the animals outside, the sounds -- all play a role. But mostly of course, the choice of words -- the story of a writer and a translator. "Under the word refuge, I found this definition: "Small structure high in the mountains where climbers can spend the night."In my opinion that was the best definition of a novel." p.93"Tell me how you work.""Well, I choose simple, concrete words . . .I try to make short sentences and as much as possible, I avoid inversions. I don't place a very short word next to one with a number of syllables ... If a word ends with a consonant I find a companion that starts with a vowel. And I read it aloud to hear how it sounds. The problem though is . . .""I know," he says. "The mot juste in English isn't necessarily the one that harmonizes best with its neighbors.""That's right! And then the melody isn't the same.""It doesn't matter. The main thing is that it's the same tone. By the way, what's your name?""Marine.""Dear Marine, what matters most in literature is the tone. Which no one ever talks about. It's nearly as important as green eyes and freckles!" p.22I am unable to read the French, so I am trusting the translation. But it's sort of a wonderfully sly idea of a writer writing about a writer and a translator, knowing that the book was going to be translated, etc. This book also led me to Grammar is a sweet, simple song -- mentioned by the characters.