Friday, January 14, 2011
La première gorgée de bière et autres plaisirs minuscules
Author: Philippe Delerm
Publisher: L'Arpenteur / Gallimard (1997)
A collection of the little pleasures of life. If you have seen the French movie "Amélie" and remember how each character had a list of likes and dislikes; then this book can be viewed as a pleasant read of 34 "likes". They may seem just like an everyday routine activity but some people take great joy in them and that idea is what the book is all about.
Each of the "likes" is described in a short story of about 2 or 3 pages. Some of them are universal, but some are more typical of France and the French lifestyle. Even if the situation was not something I was familiar with, I could still relate to the feeling it could stir in somebody because the writing was good enough to evoke those feelings in me. For example, I have never played "La Pétanque" and have never met or seen anybody playing that game but reading about it was still very fun and I could totally relate to what the players of the game have experienced.
My favorite likes? The first sip of beer and the Agatha Christie novel! I won't spoil it for you and write all the other ones! You will have to find out for yourself :) Enjoy!
The English translation is "The Small Pleasures of Life" with Sarah Hamp as translator. I have not read the translation so I can't really comment on it but I think it is worth reading in another language to see if all the subtleties of the French text and lifestyle could be adapted into English.