Introduced by Felicity Carswell
Within the opening couple of paragraphs of this delightful little French book, we are swept into the idiosyncratic world of Guylain Vignolles. Everyday he boards the same train, sits in the same seat and reads aloud excerpts from seemingly unconnected books of varying genre, style and usefulness. While reading, much to the delight of most of those who expectantly sit near him, the 6.27 is taking him to his place of work. He works at a book recycling plant. And despises the monstrosity of a machine that pulps precious words at the behest of his unpleasant boss. These two quotidians of Vignolles life provide the springboard for the unusual but brilliant novel that unfolds.
Didierlaurent captures his reader with his elegant, quirky narrative. We come to see the world through Guylain’s eyes and champion him as the literature loving protagonist. The humour and observational brilliance throughout lead to a really enjoyable read. As someone who loves books, I found that I was easily swept up into Guylain’s passionate defence of unsuspecting pages and loved that the narrative was driven by words and enjoyment of words.
This was a refreshing read that didn’t take long but made me smile. I loved Didierlaurent’s style, and was so enjoying the ride that I was gutted that it ended when it did! A brilliant little book that will whet your appetite for more reading as you are reminded of the power and joy found in words on a page.
Ros Schwartz, translator of The Reader on the 6.27, gives her translation tips on the English PEN website: https://www.englishpen.org/translation/translation-tips/