Sunday, 15 March 2015

The Red Notebook - Antoine Laurain

Bookseller Laurent Letellier comes across an abandoned handbag on a Parisian street, and feels impelled to return it to its owner. The bag contains no money, phone or contact information. But a small red notebook with handwritten thoughts and jottings reveals a person that Laurent would very much like to meet. Without even a name to go on, and only a few of her possessions to help him, how is he to find one woman in a city of millions?

Laure was mugged as she was going into her apartment building, she sustained no injuries except a bang to the head - but her handbag was stolen containing her keys, purse, phone etc, so she begs a room overnight in a nearby hotel.

Laurent Letellier, owner of Parisian bookstore - Le Cahier Rouge, finds the discarded bag while walking the following morning. After a failed attempt to hand it in at a local police station, Laurent decides to do his own detective work to try and track down the owner. However apart from what turns out to be some extremely sentimental possessions he only finds a small red Moleskine notebook with snippets from Laure's life written in it, her likes, dislikes, what she's scared of and other ramblings - but no information of where to find her or what her name is.

There is though, an unsuspecting clue hidden in the bag that will open up opportunities for Laurent, but even with a name, Paris is a big city to search for an elusive woman.

Oh how I enjoyed this whimsical book! It's relatively short at just about 200 pages but perfect to tell its story. It oozes Gallic charm and has been translated beautifully by Jane Aitken and Emily Boyce. 

This book is not a cut and dry detective story, or a run of the mill romance by any means, but I found it magically strange in parts, but highly entertaining and seriously brilliant.

A highly recommended read!

Many thanks to Gallic Books for supplying me with a copy in exchange for an honest review

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