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A Visit from Voltaire

by Dinah Lee Kung

An American journalist struggling to settle into a new life with her family in Switzerland finds support and companionship in the extraordinary form of the ghost of 18th century French playwright and philosopher, Voltaire. At one point I was tempted to skim-read to hurry the story along but I didn't and I was rewarded with a good humoured, amusing and broad-reaching story. I also learnt a lot about the life of Voltaire.

Extract

Eva-Marie's teacher has sent a brusque demand that I kindly return a fiche, which I don't understand. Happily, I have the Great French Playwright in residence.
'Ah ... of course,' Voltaire responds. 'The Paris police kept a fiche on me for decades. They just want her police file.'
'Police file? She's six years old.'
'That's what fiche means.'
I come home from school that afternoon with egg on my face.
'A fiche can also mean a loose worksheet,' I inform the master of eighteenth-century French.
'Pardon, Madame. I hope I caused no embarrassment.'
'Only a little. I'll give you another chance. Shed some of your lumiere on this -'

Parallels

So I Am Glad by A L Kennedy
Voltaire in Love by Nancy Mitford
 

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