Title: Holy Cow
Author: David Duchovny
Hardback: 224 pages
Elsie Bovary is a cow and a pretty happy one at that. Until one night, Elsie sneaks out of the pasture and finds herself drawn to the farmhouse. Through the window, she sees the farmer’s family gathered around a bright Box God – and what the Box God reveals about something called an ‘industrial meat farm’ shakes Elsie’s understanding of her world to its core. The only solution? To escape to a better, safer world. And so a motley crew is formed: Elsie; Shalom, a grumpy pig who’s recently converted to Judaism; and Tom, a suave turkey who can’t fly, but an iPhone with his beak. Toting stolen passports and slapdash human disguises, they head for the airport …
Took me a while to get to the first chapter – there were about 6 title pages to waft through – after which I steam rolled through about half the book in half an hour – I then stopped put the book down and resisted the urge to throw it in the recycle bin.
On paper this sounded brilliant unfortunately the reality was something quite different. The narrative, courtesy of Elsie, was drivel and lacked any of the sardonic wit hoped for – and anticipated – and was peppered with conversational snippets with the ‘editor’ which was irritating and pointless. Equally the story had a slight hint of style but no content.
By and large if you’re looking for something that carries the type of message this book is trying to emulate then stick to Animal Farm or for something a little lighter – Beatrix Potter.
Rating: 2 out of 10
Title: The Red Notebook
Author: Antoine Laurain (translated by Emily Boyce & Jan Aiken)
Publisher: Gallic Books (published 14th April 2015)
Pages: 159 pages
Where to read this book? Paris – predictably – ideally around Montmartre in the Spring.
Refreshments: A glass of champagne and a nicoise salad.
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?
Whimsical, charming and absolutely delightful Antoine Laurain has produced yet another perfect companion to a quiet afternoon. Our male lead, Laurent is quiet and idealistic living the dream life after leaving behind a busy job in investment banking to run a bookshop. His daughter Chloe has the arrogance of youth and should really be incredibly frustrating – but even she manages to endear herself due to her enviable relationship with her father and her ferocious desire to see him happy. The narrative switches beautifully between Laurent and Laure – the beguiling mauve handbag owner – and you almost feel like a voyeur as you watch their relationship develop – it made me smile.
Quintessentially French and capturing a fairytale romance without being saccharine The Red Notebook is another winner from Antoine Laurain.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10