The international bestselling story collection. “Truth and beauty are here brought together with all the visual beauty and power of a major literary work” (Lire Magazine, France). A cast of extravagant and affecting characters lovingly portrayed by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt animates these eight contemporary fables about people in search of happiness. One of Europe's most popular and bestselling authors, Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt captivates the reader with his spirited style and enchanting stories that move effortlessly from the everyday to the fantastical. The eight stories in this collection, his first to be published in English, represent his best and most imaginative storylines: from the touching and surprising love story between Balthazar, a wealthy author, and Odette, a shop clerk, to the tale of a barefooted princess; from the moving title story about a group of female prisoners in a Soviet gulag to the entertaining portrait of a perennially disgruntled perfectionist. Behind each story lies a simple, if elusive, truth: though we may be frequently blind to it, happiness is often right in front of our eyes.