The unsuspecting member of a hunting party in the French countryside, Tristan is out of place. He has no intention of killing anything, so when his shot inadvertently grazes a rabbit, he saves the animal soon finds himself deeply connected to the wounded rabbit.
Such philosophical exposition in a novel is uncommon, especially for a novel so short. But this is no ordinary novel ... Desarthe’s graceful and illuminating prose dances across the page, weaving one perspective with another, evoking common human experiences poetically ... Part of the credit for this lovely book is due to its translator, Christiana Hills. At certain points in the book, Desarthe gestures to a quality of the French language, and these moments must have been difficult to realize in English without awkwardness ... Desarthe has written a marvelously compressed work of fiction that nimbly reveals memorable characters, considers big issues thoughtfully, and even upends expectations about what supernaturally 'speaking' animals will have to say. As such, she has created a minor miracle of a book.
...a slim novel bursting with story, and like any good fairytale it achieves both menace and charm ... Initially it seems that Hunting Party will be a lighthearted portrait of a generational and urban vs. city clash. The book succeeds already on this level, with wit and a certain perceptive satire ... superb and even carnivalesque.
...[a] spirited novel ... while some of these interludes detract from the momentum and thematic coherence of the novel, the writing is dynamic regardless of stakes or subject matter. Though the scope of the novel expands a tad too wide by the end, Desarthe (Chez Moi) is excellent when she narrows her sights on the psychology of her individual characters, whether they’re human or animal.