The Reader on the 6.27
By Jean Paul Didierlaurent
I don't know how this book came to be kicking around on the welsh dresser in the kitchen. Its almost certainly one of Helen's literary acquisitions, maybe bought to satisfy the reading demands of her long running book group.
Whatever its origin,s I know it wasn't bought for me and at no time did she proffer a "this is a really good book - you should read it" endorsement, which of late has tended to introduce worthy and often ponderous tomes. Books which no doubt have great literary merit but so often fall short of gripping plot lines or heaven forbid, a half way decent body count!
And so in silent protest at this onslaught of the worthy I have tended to indulge myself in the type of lightweight action thriller offered by Clive Cussler or Dan Brown.
However, finding myself bookless and wanting a read I aligted on the above book, its spine unbent and its pages unread. The blurb offerd no suggestion of references to long dead playwrights, so I carefully opened the book to page one, which is always a good place to start. Now I have to say that I am a bit notorious for reading books lightly, and its quite possible that I can read a complete work and replace it in a condition which leaves almost no clue that a pair of eyes have travelled this way before. So, if this book was not for consumption by the Captian lets leave it that way, as a little secret between the two of us ok?
The book is an amazingly charming translation of a short story written and first published in France written by, for and about book lovers. In fact its fair to say that books and the reading thereof forms the the core of the plot line.
The plot centres on lonely and slightly geeky Guylain who's life in publishing is certainly one less travelled. His job is the operator of a book pulping machine, a machine which reduceds remaindered books to their essential pulp, ready to be turned back into - more new books. This endless cycle of loss of the written word troubles Guylain deeply, and each day as he cleans the hated machine he recovers odd pages which he dries out and, for some inexplicable reason, he reads aloud each morning on the 6.27 train.
Words have power and Guylains snatched fragments reach out with unexpected consequences, enriching the lives of those he encounters and transporting them in directions they could never forsee.
Its only 200 pages long but each is crafted with care, sucking you in. As with all short stories, it will come to a conclusion of sorts and leaving you wanting more - a bit like the snatched readings on the 6.27.
Helen - if the book was meant for someone else I havn't read it, honestly, and this review is entirely plagarised form other on line reviews! ;-)