- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Pan; Reprint edition (3 Nov. 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1509836853
- ISBN-13: 978-1509836857
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.3 x 19.7 cm
Guylain Vignobles travels on the 6.27 everyday to a job that he hates at a factory where old books are destroyed and pulped then recycled into paper for new books. What makes his journey different is that everyday on his way to works Guylain reads from pages that he has saved from the jaws of the pulling machine.
His audience, the passengers on the train, are captivated by the partial storied he reads, but it ins’ until he reads the diary of Julie, that he finds someone who understands his world; a place where he feels lost, alone and on the edge of existence.
The Reader on the 6.27 is a wonderful and charming read that reaffirms the importance of books in people’s lives. The style of Didierlaurent’s writing reminded me of Antoine Laurent, whose books I love. I know some may say the essence of a novel can be lost in translation, but I love reading translated novels, they do seem to have that je ne sais pas, an air if something different that intrigues me.
There are a fairly small cast of characters in this book, but a just under three hundred pages it is a fairly short read. I have to say I don’t think I could do Guylain’s job of feeding redundant books into a machine to be pulped. He is a very solitary character with just his goldfish for company, and obviously has some form of OCD in his counting of lamp posts on his way to work. Guylain can’t bring himself to name the machine, its just the thing, as if giving it a name would be complicit in what it does. The pulping plant has its fair share of interesting characters; Yvon the security guard, who likes to recite from plays and speak in ‘Alexandrian Rhyme’ and Lucien who takes a almost a pleasure in destroying the books. The Delacôte sisters, two elderly ladies, only catch the train to hear Guylain read, again they seem a little eccentric in their manner, but I felt a warmth towards them in their wanting to hear the stories.
The Reader on the 6.27 is a beautifully written charming novel with a cast of interesting and slightly eccentric characters. It is an erudite and funny read that shows the importance of books in our lives, a book for the literature lover; a charming and quirky read.