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The Red Notebook

The Red Notebook

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Can you experience nostalgia for something that hasn’t happened? We talk of ‘regrets’ about the course of our lives, when we are almost certain we have taken the wrong decision; but one can also be enveloped in a sweet and mysterious euphoria, a sort of nostalgia for what might have been.” There is lovely Laure. She is an artist, a gilder. She has been mugged and her bag stolen. There are items inside that are precious to her. Like catching snatches of a far-off radio frequency. The message is obscure, yet by listening carefully you can still catch snippets of the life that never was. You hear sentences that never were actually said, you hear footsteps echoing in places you've never been to, you can make out the surf on a beach whose sand you have never touched. You hear the laughter and loving words of a woman though nothing ever happened between you."

Laurent is the owner of bookstore. In search of his morning coffee at the local cafe, he finds an obviously abandoned handbag sitting on top of a bin, sans owner.There are some will they/won't they meet moments that made me catch my breath with how charming the writing is. That night Laurent ponders on whether to look through the bag or not. While deliberating he realises that he has never been through the contents of a woman’s handbag before. It just seems morally wrong, an unwritten rule, and by opening it he will have crossed a line and become one of the persons with dubious scruples.

I received a copy of The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain from its publishers, Gallic Books, via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Laurent’s efforts to find Laure had results; he found her home, he met her cat, but Laure wasn’t there.The Red Notebook has little of the hardship and tragedy of Dora Bruder, it reads more like a book that could be made into an entertaining romantic comedy, it has all the ingredients, the streets and bookshops of Paris, an artists' workshop, handbags and their intriguing taboo contents, a jealous girlfriend and a lippy adolescent daughter. Watch this space I say!

I've received this novel via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to the publishers, Gallic Books, for the opportunity to read and review this charming novel. Antoine Laurain is utterly delightful. I'm so pleased I bought a bunch of his books some time ago. They were just waiting for the right time for me to start reading them. This is the first of many journeys I'll have with him. A distinguished gentleman was walking down the street the next morning and found her purse on a bin. What is a bin? I can only guess that it is a garbage bin, and that the French don’t use the word garbage or that this gentleman refuses to use it. I don’t know. Maybe it was a potato bin.

The Short Stories Of Guy De Maupassant

Books about books always make me happy, and since I try to diversify my reading I wanted to read this little French book about a man, a book store and a handbag. (In English of course). I'm jumping with joy and exhilaration having just finished a charming and very delightful novel. Exactly what I was after! A perfect Sunday afternoon companion. Well, a perfect companion, regardless of the day of the week or season. Records the default button state of the corresponding category & the status of CCPA. It works only in coordination with the primary cookie.

What's not to love about a book featuring more books in it. And people who love books. In the city of love. Sigh. Amongst the belongings in the bag, Laurent finds a book penned by a reclusive legendary author, an author who hadn’t done any signings or interviews for years, personally signed to the owner of the bag. He now at least knows her first name. And he found a red notebook, that the owner had used to scribble all sorts of notes. He felt rather guilty, reading something so personal, but he hoped that he might find a stronger clue to the identity of the bag, and the more he read the more he realised he really wanted to now her. What do you carry in your handbag? Are the items intriguing enough to make someone want to meet you, even if they only saw the contents of your bag and knew nothing else about you? On his customary morning walk to procure his morning coffee, Laurent Letellier finds an expensive handbag atop a trash barrel. Being of high moral character, he takes it to the police station where he realizes the bag will succumb to massive bureaucracy and become eternally lost. He leaves it at his home before he goes to work and ponders the best course of action. Thus begins Antoine Laurain’s delightful novel: what would you do if you found an abandoned handbag? How far would you go to try and find the rightful owner?Now I don’t know much about actual French authors, so I felt a little lost at sea with the many French authors names and books mentioned…but that’s okay because it was actually just a tiny point to the story. As for the other characters, the combination between a teenage daughter, a gay best friend and a financial analyst help to complete the book in an amazing way. However, the crown of it is the abundance of books, writers and artists mentioned or present in the story. From classics to contemporary, novelists to pets, French authors are frequently mentioned. Instead of losing interest in what seems a hopeless case, his obsession to find Laure grows and grows. It’s a format that has been done many times before and needs to be exceptionally written for it to rise above the other books of similar ilk. I am delighted to say that this is the case. As it is such a short novel, I don’t want to say any more for fear of spoilers, the narrative is brilliantly crafted, but to explain why would spoil the story. A thoroughly enjoyable read, which is very hard to put down once you start. The President's Hat shows the author to be more than adept at such entertaining, short novels. You might also enjoy his The Readers Room.

  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
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