samedi 23 août 2014

Demain j'arrete by Gilles Legardinier




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Let me tell you about the stupidest thing I ever did…

So begins the story of Julie, a young woman in a dead end job, whose chance encounter with her new neighbour’s name on his post box pushes her into taking more and more insane risks in an attempt to meet him. From spending days pressed to her peephole to organising a heist, Julie’s insane imagination will lead her into more and more extreme situations. All in the order to answer the one question we all wish we could find the answer to: for whom would you do the stupidest thing in your entire life?

Over my summer holidays, I often looked up to find my wife laughing hysterically, her nose lost behind her Kindle, as she read three books by a French author I had never heard of. Over the week’s holiday, I watched as she alternately laughed, cried and then laughed again, constantly looking up to tell me: “You have to read these.” Now I’m not a big fan of reading in French (I am bilingual so it isn’t a question of not being able to) mainly because I don’t like the way French books are laid out and also because reading in French reminds me too much of school! Still, considering my wife’s reaction and how rare it is for her to suggest a book to me, I decided to make an exception. And boy I’m glad I did! The first of those three novels, Demain j’arrete (I’ll Stop Tomorrow), turned out to be a hilarious, touching novel about how far we are willing to go for the people we fall in love with. Told in first person by the eponymous Julie, the novel is one of those rare beasts: a real laugh-out-loud affair, dangerous to read on public transport unless you want to be taken for a mad man! I read it partly at my inlaws and partly on the train back to my home and I got quite a few glances from people as I snorted my way through the story. Julie is a fantastic character, completely crazy in an incredibly touching way, who I defy anyone not to fall in love with as the story progresses. With a cast of fantastic secondary characters and a mystery to boot, Demain j’arrete has something for everyone… As long as you can read French! Unfortunately, as of writing, neither of these novels have been translated into English, which is really a shame for the English-reading world. These are great!

I gave Demain j’arrete 5 stars.

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