Review | The Reader on the 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent

A little gem for book lovers. 3.5/5 stars

The Reader on the 627 by Jean Paul Didierlaurent

Thank you to Pan Macmillan and Netgalley for giving me an e-copy of this book in return for an honest review

The blurb:Β Guylain Vignolles lives on the edge of existence. Working at a book pulping factory in a job he hates, he has but one pleasure in life. Sitting on the 6.27 train each day, Guylain recites aloud from pages he has saved from the jaws of his monstrous pulping machine. And it’s this release of words into the world that starts our hero on a journey that will finally bring meaning into his life. For one morning, Guylain discovers the diary of a lonely young woman: Julie. A woman who feels as lost in the world as he does. As he reads from these pages to a rapt audience, Guylain finds himself falling hopelessly in love with their enchanting author…

My take:

The Reader on the 6.27 is a short novel which is thoroughly charming, and that’s not damning with faint praise. There are several things which lift the book from 3 to 3.5 stars. The characters, particularly the secondary characters, are drawn just on the right side of the line between quirky and caricature. And, in such a short story, this is an asset because the author doesn’t have a lot of time to make them memorable.

The author has great descriptive powers: I applaud his ability to make a book pulping plant resemble one of the lower circles of hell and to insert sections of reading into the text which shine as bright points of happiness amid the drudgery and gloom of Guylain’s day to day. This is definitely a book for book lovers.

The story is also full of originality. In particular, the strand involving Giuseppe’s quest to find his legs is fantastic (sorry if that sounds odd… spoilers!).

The romantic element of the tale is handled with lightness and subtlety. As it develops, you find yourself getting behind the hero and, when it comes, the ending leaves you smiling.

One final note: bravo to Ros Schwartz for an excellent translation. I would never have guessed this wasn’t written in English originally.

Overall: in under 200 pages, The Reader on the 6.27 achieves a great deal. It will make you grimace, despair, smile and laugh. In the end, you will close the book feeling better for having given it a few hours of your life.


Claire Huston / Art and Soul

 

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20 thoughts on “Review | The Reader on the 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent

  1. I believe this is one of the must-have-on-your-shelves books. And now that I know the translation is good, I’ll check both versions and use them. Now I’m even eagerer to read this because of the leg quest, haha!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll be really interested to hear if you enjoy it in the original. Usually the original is always slightly better than any translation, although in this case the translation was very good.
      The leg thing is just brilliant. I tell you, the author has a wonderful imagination! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve pretty much quit NetGalley after my initial rush of requesting every ARC ever and then proceeding to panic: when am I going to get to read all of these. Maybe it’s time that I go back there and try again.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: WWW Wednesday 6th July 2016 | Art and Soul

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