Second Star


Translated from by

Published: May 16, 2023





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Book Description

Second Star is a series of lyrical meditations on life’s often overlooked joys, from peeling a clementine, sipping a cold mojito, to washing your windows. Whether biting into a bitter turnip or savoring a summer evening, Delerm pauses to consider each pang of pleasure. Vividly translated by Jody Gladding, these glimpses invite us to linger, as if each bite of a ripe watermelon, each exhaled breath on a
bitterly cold day, each cloudy evening on the beach, were our last. A still life in motion, Second Star “consumes the present” with a quiet curiosity, asking us to “put off tomorrow” and join Delerm in tasting, touching, listening, and noticing.

Delerm’s beautiful book of brief meditations reminds us that lingering, observing, noticing, wondering—about a gesture on the soccer pitch; visitors to the public piano; oneself interacting with others on the street, on the train—is one of the ways our lives become meaningful.
Ross Gay

Throughout this collection of lighthearted vignettes, the author invites readers to slow down and cherish moments . . . getting caught in a rain shower, eating a clementine one-handed . . . or the joy of bouncing a baby in your arms . . . Delerm’s brief observations allow readers to dip in and out, offering moments of reflection and contemplation.
Kirkus Reviews

Delerm finds resonant meanings in everyday objects, moments, and coincidences, burrowing into surprisingly emotional depths as he probes attachment and loss . . . The point of the exercises in Second Star is to mentally invigorate, to sharpen how we look at the things in plain sight that we take for granted.
Thomas Filbin, The Arts Fuse

What an absolute treasure of a book. I'm savoring each of these scenes like a delicious chocolate truffle. His attention to detail is incredible - the way he transforms the most mundane moment or casual encounter into poetry is so inspiring... I love his (and the translator's) tone... it's precise and sharp, both funny and deeply profound.
Nandi Rose (also known as Half Waif)

If the singularity of Philippe Delerm’s work had to be summarized in one image, it would be this: the decanting of key moments in our lives. Letting the tumult of our modern existence come to rest, letting the surperfluous bits sink to the bottom, so that the writing, that prodigious alchemist, can reveal to us the truth of those moments in all its limpidity — and their beauty.

Philippe Delerm is the jubilation of minimalism.
Librairie de l'Express literature, [Delerm] has always embodied the sensitive man in the most noble sense of the word . . . with the ability to capture as clearly as possible the happinesses and melancholies of our lives.
La Vie Critique (Weekend)

It’s as though he’s an entomologist who unfolds, spreads open, and strips clean those fleeting moments we have all shared.
Laetitia Cénac, Le Figaro Madame

...these literary snapshots are so many shared moments. As always, with the mot juste, Philippe Delerm walks us through his daily life. Dancing by his side, watching a soccer match sitting on his couch, sharing Sunday dinner or breakfast toast. Between the “one” and the “I,” the personal pronoun is an invitation.
Karine Michel, Nice - Matin

Philippe Delerm is capable of taking the smallest sensations and observations and turning them into quiet meditations that fit within a frame that is never too tight or too large.
Joseph Schrieber, Rough Ghosts

Delerm packs big ideas into small packages . . . While Delerm is interested in slowing the reader down to savor minutiae and to question some of life’s accepted nuisances, holiness is averted. In its place are intelligent observations and terse judgments laden with wit . . . Delerm’s literary snapshots nestle well into the long history of authors penning atmospheric flash and micro essays . . . This is the perfect book to keep handy after a rough day.
Benjamin Woodward, On the Seawall

Whether it’s watching a couple dance on the Seine, listening to the sounds of Venice, watching a man on the bus, or dancing without knowing how, this is a book that breathes life into the reader, one snapshot at a time.
Amy Bobeda, Full Stop

There's a special magic that can only be found in the profoundly mundane moments of life, and Delerm's Second Star manages to capture that essence perfectly. In a world constantly demanding our most productive selves, allowing space for simple enjoyment is an act of resistance. Afraid you don't remember how? Allow this beautiful English translation to act as your guide and reminder to slow down and savor life."
Charlotte S., Powell's Bookstore