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392 pages, Hardcover
First published April 26, 2013
You see, I sell books like medicine. There are books that are suitable for a million people, others only for a hundred. There are even medicines — sorry, books — that were written for one person only.
"…My name is Jean. Jean Albert Victor Perdu. Albert after my paternal grandfather, Victor after my maternal grandfather. My mother is a professor, and her father, Victor Bernier, was a toxicologist, a socialist and mayor. I’m fifty years old, Catherine, and I haven’t known many women, let alone slept with them. I loved one. She left me.’Perdu's gift was his transperceptional abilities.
" I read books – twenty at a time. Everywhere: on the toilet, in the kitchen, in cafés, in the metro. I do jigsaw puzzles that take up the whole floor, destroy them when I’ve finished and then start all over again. I feed stray cats. I arrange my groceries in alphabetical order. I sometimes take sleeping tablets. I take a dose of Rilke to wake up. I don’t read any books in which women like — crop up. I gradually turn to stone. I carry on. The same every day. That’s the only way I can survive. But other than that, no, I do nothing."He does iron his shirts vigorously, and role up his sleeves carefully, inwards, one fold at a time.
"The herbs from the Goldenbergs’ little garden. Rosemary and thyme mixed with the massage oils used by Che, the blind chiropodist and ‘foot whisperer’. Added to that, the smell of pancakes intermingled with Kofi’s spicy and meaty African barbecued dishes. Over it all drifted the perfume of Paris in June, the fragrance of lime blossom and expectation.'I closed the book and decided on three stars. One of them is for the beautiful prose. It could have been a spectacular book if the girlie, drawn-out, sentimental, emotional-manipulating hype, were avoided. It could have shared the shelf of great books such as "A Man Called Ove", for instance. But let's be fair. It was a romance. I just did not realize it before I started out. It is after everything is said and done, a prescription for the lovesick and there's nothing wrong with that. It just caters for a different audience. Millions of them.
'... As night took flight, abandoning Paris to a Saturday morning…'