An inspiring literary fantasy about two gifted girls from the bestselling author of The Elegance of the Hedgehog, The Life of Elves sings of the human spirit and conveys a message of hope and faith. Muriel Barbery's new novel is the first of two books about Maria and Clara, unforgettable heroines of a world facing annihilation. Animated by a large cast of endearing characters, it is a timeless story about the forces of good and evil and a moving meditation on the power of nature, music, art, storytelling, and love. When the harmony between living beings turns to discord, the seasons will be loosed from their moorings and the natural world thrown into disarray; human beings—no longer capable of feeling either empathy or enchantment—will abandon themselves to hate, violence, and war. An epic battle between forces that wish to reestablish harmony in the world and those that wish to shatter it definitively is being waged on earth and in the mysterious land of mist, where the elves dwell. A ragtag army of rural peasants gathers in readiness for the fight—their weapons, an age-old kinship with the land and an affinity for magic. But humankind cannot hope to win this battle alone. Victory depends on help from the inhabitants of a world that is hidden from human sight. Hope rests with Maria and Clara, two girls whose prodigious artistic talents and deep connections with nature make communion with the numinous realm possible. From the Trade Paperback edition.