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Out of Sorts, Aurélie Valognes, trans. Wendeline A. Hardenberg



A quick report on a book which made me laugh out loud. I was sorry to finish it. Out of Sorts is yet another book which I found lurking forgotten on the Kindle. It’s an AmazonCrossing book, translated from the French.

Ferdinand Brun is eighty three and a grumpy old man. He lives alone in his filthy Paris apartment, ignoring his neighbours and engaged in constant warfare with the concierge, Madame Suarez, who certainly has it in for him. His daughter Marion, who lives in Singapore, worries that he’s not coping and arranges for him to go into a retirement home. As he’s in good health and hates institutions, the thought horrifies him. There seems to be a conspiracy to get him out of his home.

Then his life is turned around by two wonderful characters. First Juliette, a very precocious ten-year-old, erupts into his life, announcing that she intends to have lunch with him every day as she doesn’t like the school cafeteria. Her conversation is a delight. Next he gets to know Beatrice, a neighbour who, at ninety two, is still full of energy and has a busy social life. Both Juliette and Beatrice are determined to get Ferdinand out of his rut and start engaging with other people. Can the habits of a lifetime be changed? I wasn’t much interested in the redemptive aspects of the story, just found it very funny. It’s short, charming, recommended.
Tags: aurelie valognes, french novels
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