The Reader on the 6:27 – Jean-Paul Didierlaurent

Those who know me know that I’m something of a francophile – I speak the language (badly), love French cuisine and wine and art… so it follows that I also love French literature. I set myself a challenge this year to read the book of a film I love in the original French… so far I’m completely failing at this target, but I’ll be sure to post about it with bells and whistles if I ever manage to reach my goal!

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These guys get it!

The friend who gifted me The Reader on the 6:27 knows this – hence the gift, I think. The Reader is a short, easy to read novel, translated from the original French by Roz Schwartz – the author has previously written short stories, and this (his first novel) does read like a developed short story. I like this – I swallowed it up in one day and then read it again two days later, and it’s perhaps even more lovely the second time around.

It’s about a man who works in a book recycling factory. He hates his job, manning the machine whose only purpose is to destroy books, and in order to bring some small balance to the universe, he has devised a tiny rebellion: each morning, on his commuter train, he reads aloud from pages he has rescued from the machine the day before, releasing the words back into the world.

How’s that for poetry?!

The Reader was a genuinely delightful story. It’s got that whimsical quirkiness I love, it’s gentle and engaging, and hits all sorts of right notes for those (like me) who love books; love reading and words.

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TL;DR: If you loved Amélie, you’ll love The Reader on the 6:27.

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