Why did I love this book?
This short story involves a Frenchman, an antique store, a mummified foot, and a little too much wine.
We understand mummified bodies better by placing them in context. The other books do that historically, but this one does something very well: it showcases the enduring obsession with Egyptian mummies coming to life, in a rather enthralling fiction story, by a French writer.
I like it especially because Gautier did see the foot in question in the collection of a man called Dominique Vivant Denon, who is central to French museums, and to Egyptology, and brought the foot from Napoleon’s expedition.
I imagine Denon and Gautier having a chat: the fine line between fantasy and reality, ever so paradigmatic of France’s attitude to foreign bodies collecting.