French Book Recommendation: 'Le Liseur du 6h27'
Le Liseur Du 6h27 by jean-paul Didierlaurent
Le Liseur du 6h27 (The Reader on the 6:27) is the first published novel by French author Jean-Paul Didierlaurent. Before the release of this quirky short novel in 2014, the author from the Vosges region of France was previously known for his award-winning short stories.
In this charming Parisian microadventure, we follow the socially awkward misfit Guylain on his unexpected quest around Paris. The book is reminiscent of a more realist Amélie Poulain, or indeed Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.
Guylain Vignolles is not only victim of an unfortunate spoonerism of a name*, he lives alone with his goldfish, in between his shifts in a soul-destroying job at a book-pulping facility. As a passionate book enthusiast, Guylain reads aloud the salvaged books to his fellow passengers on his morning commute, much to their amusement, and sometimes to their distaste.
Alongside his scattering of obsessive outsiders as friends, our protagonist’s life is turned upside down as he sets out on a mission to find the owner of a USB stick he finds in the RER.
The Reader on the 6:27 is a modern-day love letter to the act of reading; we ultimately discover the power of books to save people. Indeed, Didierlaurent personifies books, using simple but poetic language and sharp humour to tell the story. It is a must-read for any book lover; short and sweet, and we were able to enjoy it both in French and in English.
*Guylain Vignolles would sound like “Vilain Guignol” if you swap the first letters – which translates roughly as “awful, nasty clown-puppet”