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This is Life

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  652 Ratings  ·  112 Reviews
In Paris, art student Aurelie Renard throws a stone that sets in motion a chain of events that will turn her life upside down.

Suddenly finding herself in sole charge of a stranger's baby, and with no idea how babies work, it's only thanks to the help of her adoring professor and her gun-toting heartbreaker of a best friend that Aurelie Renard is able to navigate her way th
Hardcover, Large Print, 410 pages
Published 2012
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(showing 1-30 of 1,403)
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Jun 26, 2013 Elaine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
This is really a 2.5. I'm giving it a 3 because I just don't like quirky comedy, and therefore I think my failure to connect with This is Life is in some sense just a category error - I probably shouldn't have read this book in the first place. This is one of those books that is is all about madcap gamine characters, all with tragic pasts, but all terribly good looking, with a penchant for getting into wacky amusing scrapes and comically droll misunderstandings on their way to neatly tied up hap ...more
Dan Coxon
Nov 01, 2012 Dan Coxon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the spirit of full disclosure, I should start by saying that I know Dan Rhodes personally. We would sometimes get drunk together when we both lived in Edinburgh in the mid-2000's, and while that isn't always a reason for recommending somebody, in this case it is. Much of the enjoyment behind a book depends on how well you like the author's voice, and in this case I like the author's voice very well indeed. I even got to hear it in person on occasion. Sometimes it was a rather slurred version ...more
Kris McCracken
Jun 07, 2012 Kris McCracken rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A complicated and convoluted novel that interweaves the story of a young art student, a (seemingly) abandoned baby, a women so beautiful that all of her ex-boyfriends (and their mothers) tend to kill themselves or stalk her, the upstanding proprietor of Paris’ last genuine cinéma érotique (who has a particular fondness for sophisticated ‘girl-on-girl’ films and a lesbian daughter), a pair of Japanese tourists and their hapless translator, the world’s most acerbic art critic and perhaps the novel ...more
Apr 01, 2012 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is Life is a missing baby mystery and an enchanted Parisian adventure. Hand in hand with lovable heroine Aurelie Renard, you will see life as you've never seen it before, discover the key to great art, witness the true cost of love, and learn how all these things may be controlled by the in-breath of a cormorant. Chock-full of charming characters and hilarious set-pieces this is a hugely enjoyable novel that will make you see life anew.

I enjoyed this book. It’s not my personal favourite of
Aug 30, 2015 Kath rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own
Tohle je snad ta nejdivnější a nestřelenější kniha, kterou jsem kdy četla ....ale jako četla se dobře.
I really disliked this book. I actually couldn't finish it, I'm glad I only bought it for $1.
Craig Terlson
Feb 23, 2013 Craig Terlson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A co-worker friend recommended this odd little book to me before I went on vacation. I liked the description, and it had someone going to art school (where I also went) so I thought I'd give it a shot - put it on my kindle, and stuffed it next to the other stack of books I took along.

2 chapters in I was HOOKED - in a big way. I loved the loopy-ness of the characters, the author understated riffing on love, and the absurdity (yet at the same time very real) of the story. I caught myself laughing
Fab Librarian
Jan 02, 2013 Fab Librarian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book and devoured it as quickly as possible. Yes, it was quirky and some of the story lines a bit far-fetched to say the least (would a Mum really forgive someone who shoot her baby because she too had done some stupid things when under the influence of drink?). But it was also very funny and the characters really captured my imagination.
The fantastic chain of events begins with Aurélie Renard, a young art student in Paris, throwing a stone high into the air as part of a
Maya Panika
Nov 22, 2012 Maya Panika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Life – from start to finish, in all its flavours - is explored and dissected and detailed through the day to day experiences of a group of lightly connected characters. Art student Aurelie, who finds herself suddenly and unexpectedly in charge of a stranger’s baby. Her friend Sylvie, who wants only to be married with babies, but cannot find the right man – until she falls in love with the least likely candidate in the strangest way. Most dramatically of all, through the eyes of Le Machine, who p ...more
Oct 05, 2014 Robert rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
You can also find my review of This is Life on my book blog.

This is Life is a novel set in France. Correction, it is set in Paris. Correction, it is set in the cartoon version of Paris that movies like Hugo, The Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec and Ratatouille are set in. (I know Amelie is missing on this list, but that's because Amelie has genuine magic, whereas the other movies just have the right sort of colours and tone, without the heart)

The book centres around Aurelie and various acquaintance
Andrew Mcq
I was looking forward to this book, having enjoyed several other books by Rhodes, but I came away slightly disappointed. This is by no means a poor book, but I think my expectation levels weren't met.

My main thoughts are centred on things that this book isn't:

It is not Rhodes' move into chick-lit, despite the cynical/lazy efforts of the publishers to dress it as such. He still retains his uniquely off-kilter quirks for plot and characterisation. For this cheap move, I hope they are inundated wi
Lucy Parsons
Jan 02, 2013 Lucy Parsons rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not the sort of book I would normally go for; the whimsically sweet dust jacket looked a little too chick lit for me, but I decided to take a risk as the story was based around two of my loves, (France and art). And I am very glad I did.

Yes, it draws on a Paris based in recent cinema, (Amelie, A Very Long Engagement, Paris Je T'aime), all golden hues and beautiful people living amazing lives & living in more amazing apartment on a bar keeps wage, but this book made me smile. The deve
Jan 10, 2013 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
I have to admit that I only made it about half way through this book. I love books taking place in the art world and this does poke fun a little bit at it's inhabitants but it just became far to odd without any amusement on my part nor character depth.

I really liked Aurelie in the beginning but her actions and naïveté became incredibly irritating later on that I really stopped caring and started to wonder why I was still reading. It didn't help that the love at first sight theme running through
Sep 07, 2015 Táňa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okouzlující obálka se zajímavým námětem. Neviděla jsem důvod, proč nezkusit něco trochu jiného než-li jsou YA a science fiction. To je život jsem vzala trošku jako výzvu, abych zase okusila nový knižní žánr a uznávaného britského satirika. A víte co? Je to ujetý. Nikdy jsem nečetla tak vtipnou a zároveň trhlou knihu.
Dara Megan
Aug 31, 2015 Dara Megan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tak tuhle recenzi si vychutnám, těšte se, protože kniha stála za to! :))
Výborná svým vtipem i ironií, lehká a zábavná, místy neuvěřitelná a pro někoho, kdo miluje Pařiž jako já je... No prostě boží :)))
Jun 25, 2012 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comedy, drama, love
This book is wonderful, charmant in fact. Only rarely does it wander into the real world, mostly surviving in a Paris that would work wonderfully as part of a Shrek movie. Every character is made to seem more alive by the outrageous attitudes and actions they display. Short of wearing striped jerseys as they cycle about the place wreathed in garlic, these characters could not get any more ridiculously French, any more ridiculously Parisian. Following Aurélie and her friends through a week's even ...more
Karen Jules
Aug 21, 2013 Karen Jules rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own
ALL THE CHARACTERS. That was definitely something different from what I was expecting. Although the book was mainly about Aurélie and Herbert (whose name was just perfect for the book), there were so many characters that I ended up confusing them (which made for an awkward situation in the end). Though eventually, everything pretty much came together. As I've read in reviews before: this is definitely fiction. This story wouldn't exactly work in real life, but of course, that didn't stop me from ...more
Nov 14, 2015 Kat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A funny and easy going novel about all kinds of everyday magic that may happen in Paris.
Jan 08, 2014 Moira rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Got 34 pages in before realizing my eyes had become stuck at the apex of a roll and I could no longer see. Good thing I can touch-type. If you're reading this, send help.
I have never read anything written by Dan Rhodes before, and I was pleasantly surprised! The blurb sounded interesting and so I picked up this book. The characters sometimes got a little confusing, yet I liked how the stories all came together at the end. The characters were complex and confusing and the whole concept of "La Machine" was really interesting. The ending was slightly too rushed for me, there was more that I wanted to find out about the characters! However, I enjoyed this book a lot ...more
Mary Lou
May 19, 2014 Mary Lou rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful wonderful book. Another fairy story for the grownups which is a clever study on what represents Art. Containing lots of gentle jibes directed towards the pseuds, brillantly amusing even when I saw myself falling victim to the teasing. I have yet in any of my commentaries to refer to a quote but this was go good I noted it. In the context of his girlfriend who got an unpleasant cat without discussing it with him .....
'even the people of the internet, so many of whom love nothing more
Sheenagh Pugh
Mar 14, 2012 Sheenagh Pugh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Rhodes's world works, and always has, by the laws of fairytale rather than those of realism. It's therefore pointless to object that in real life, nobody hands a baby over to a stranger, or admires their girlfriend for being unloving and obnoxious. This sort of thing has happened in every novel Rhodes has written, and mostly so far, it has worked by the standards of its chosen genre. This time, I think there might be an irreconcilable conflict between the requirements of fairytale and those of t ...more
Michael Palkowski
Apr 18, 2012 Michael Palkowski rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dan Rhodes has this wonderful way of coupling hyper realistic observations (absurd, sardonic fantasy) and putting them all within multifarious narratives that are all wonderfully enticing, readable and reticent, culminating in each strand becoming part of a larger piece. The story is hardly attempting realism as the synopsis will inevitably conceive, but he creates his own paradigmatic universe here with stunning character sketches, all cartoonish in their postulations but very moving in their h ...more
Dec 13, 2013 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is possibly one of the strangest books I've ever read but I couldn't put it down.
Taking place in France, it involved an array of characters who somehow become
connected to each other. A supposedly simple art project leads Aurelie to meet "Herbert", a stranger's baby, whom she must look after for the week. Sylvie, a young woman, who has a different career each day of the week, is searching for her soul mate and refuses to date men whom she believes she will not marry. She has an encounter wit
Feb 17, 2016 Sylvie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I learned of This is Life from the 2012 Fiction Uncovered list (which also included Lucky Bunny) and I’m glad I did. It is the rare book about Paris that doesn’t drive me crazy somehow, but I really enjoyed this one. The plot is utterly ridiculous, but the novel is much more than what it appears to be on the surface. Imagine a more profound version of the film Amélie and you have the general atmosphere of the story. In a way, it reminded me of Skios, but the farce works much better and the whole ...more
Aug 07, 2013 Alyson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a rollicking good read that will have you laughing out loud and wondering how this author could possibly get his ideas. Quirky, outrageous, and highly original, this is a story about what happens when plans don't go quite they way they were expected to. Great characters from disparate lives commingle in Paris while an avant garde performance art exhibition takes place in a former porn theatre. As we weave in and around the story of Aurélie and her newly acquired mystery baby, we examine ...more
Aug 28, 2012 Luisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was fantastic! This is Life by Dan Rhodes tells the story of arts student, Aurélie Renard who to a series of unfortunate events is given a stranger's baby to look after. We are shown then how she copes with this, as she knows nothing about taking care of babies.

There is also Le Machine, who is presenting an "art" exhibit which he has entitled "Life". Although many people are skeptical about the concept, questioning whether it can be considered as art, it leads people to question the e
I liked this book a lot more than I thought I was going to when I was only a few chapters in.

I was always intrigued by the lead female character and liked her story and character. I thought that ending up with a baby as a result of attempting to apply randomness to an art project was a little too far-fetched, but I liked watching her as she dealt with that.

The part that took me a long time to come around too was the story of the "This is Life" art exhibit which chronicled one naked man for twel
Dec 05, 2013 Yasmine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started reading Dan Rhodes about 10 years ago and have loved every single one of his books since so my feelings about This Is Life may come from a place of bias. Plus, after reading reviews of This Is Life I kept my expectations low. Reviewers warned that it was unironically whimsical and had no trace of the darkness that usually gives Dan Rhodes' books their special flavour. I tend to dislike whimsical, "quirkily charming" books that try to be inspiring.
But somehow I feel Dan Rhodes pulls it
Tim Roast
Nov 16, 2012 Tim Roast rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel is set in Paris and follows lead character Aurélie who is a student doing an art project. She decides to throw a stone in a public place to hit a random person to spend a week with for her art project - it hits a baby. After a bit of explaining herself remarkably she is given the baby to look after for a whole unsupervised week. And the book follows that week where her world changes, as does that of the characters around her.

Also at this time an artist is in town presenting his remark
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It should be noted that a recent Gallup poll revealed that there are an estimated 14,000 writers worldwide who share Rhodes’ name. He is not to be confused with the Daniel Rhodes who writes books about vampires, or the Daniel Rhodes who writes books about ceramics, or the Dan Rhodes who writes books about theology, or the Danny Rhodes who writes teenage fiction, or the character Sheriff Dan Rhodes ...more
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