This book is responsible for putting me a long way behind in my goal of reading 60 new books this year. I found it a stodgy and difficult read for the most part and irritating when it wasn??t that. I had one conversation about it, the upshot of which is that it is difficult to take a book seriously when the title is intentionally pretentious ? and really, that about sums it up.
From the various reviews on Amazon, I think this is a love it or hate it book. Well, I say that; I didn??t actually love it OR hate it, so maybe it isn??t but it would be fair to say I really don??t know why it has been such a best seller. I??m not a huge lover of philosophy I suppose, so perhaps that is why, maybe I simply missed the point. Or perhaps the pace and style, translated from French, was just too much to easily get in to. Or perhaps I am just an uneducated and impossible to inspire heathen. I??m not sure that a book likely to make a reasonable quantity of readers feel that way has masses to recommend it. The author is clever, better read than me and has a more elegant turn of thought in her head ? fair enough ? but I??m not sure I wanted my nose rubbed in that.
The story focuses on a concierge and a 12 year old girl; both are recognisable enough, if not particularly people to warm to. The supporting cast of friends are a little more endearing and well drawn though. The story centres around their relationship and circumstances which bring them together. It took too long to get going and neither was likeable for me to care much, but the story picked up quickly in the second half. I could happily have read more of that element of the plot, which had it in it to be charming and thought provoking but which was just dealt with too quickly, almost like something as mundane as emerging love was not worthy of thought and exploration.
Annoyingly, right at the end, the book gave me something, a pair of quotes which gnawed right into my heart and earned the book a whole extra star over on Goodreads.
??For the first time in my life I understood the meaning of the word ??never??. And it??s really awful. You say the word a hundred times a day but you don??t really know what you are saying until you??re faced with a real ??never again??.
??From now on, for you, I??ll be searching for those moments of always within never??.
I can??t honestly say you shouldn??t bother to read this. It WAS, in its way, charming and interesting. I don??t mind being charmed and I like being educated. I just like a little more pace and plot to go with it. But I may, it is fair to say, have missed something. I??m not overly sold on being left feeling I??m a Philistine though.
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