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Henry Ribal-Dumas is the stereotypical grouchy, misanthropic, smug retiree. After he retired, the former Parisian cardiologist became stuck in a wheelchair and retreated into his fine home in the center of a provincial village. Enjoying good food and good wine, Henry doesn’t want to have his mind polluted by the...
Henry Ribal-Dumas is the stereotypical grouchy, misanthropic, smug retiree. After he retired, the former Parisian cardiologist became stuck in a wheelchair and retreated into his fine home in the center of a provincial village. Enjoying good food and good wine, Henry doesn’t want to have his mind polluted by the village gossip or the bourgeois politeness of provincial badmouths like Father Cohas, the village priest, Geneviève Mehenut, the Catechism director, or Isabelle de Bonacourt, the only baroness in the area. Proud, dignified, and removed from small talk, Henry wants to devote his time to nobler things: listening to great works of classical music and writing his memoirs! Soon, it is Christmas. The village is buzzing. There are nativity scenes and blessings on every street corner. Henry quietly fumes while his cheerful grown daughter, Mathilde, who goes by Sosette and is somewhat limited on the intellectual front, comes to tell him that this year a young man from the neighboring town named Ryan has come to be baptized. Isn’t it marvelous? Yes, marvelous, of course… Especially when you see the Ryan Chambon in question, a pure product of the audiovisual subculture, who never takes off his coat or gets off his motorcycle. He has barely mastered the French language. But the most ludicrous thing is that he is still attached to Pupuce, a little turtle he takes everywhere with him. Mathilde is completely besotted with Ryan and his pet. It’s on the day of Easter that Ryan, after spending four months cramming Christian liturgy, must join the big Christian family. It is a big moment for the whole parish. Henry is laughing up his sleeve. But Ryan can’t be found anywhere. So everyone goes off in search of him. They find him at the last minute right before High Mass, standing enraptured in the middle of a field with one finger pointed to the sky. Ryan Is sure of it: he saw a woman in the sky who spoke to him. In no time at all, the rumor of an apparition and a miracle spread around the village. And it’s only the beginning: the villagers will rediscover faith and the way to church, Henry will recover the use of his legs, and Sosette will be marked by God’s grace.