Hardcover, 194 pages
April 7th 2016
Publishers Group Canada
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.
“He was the reader, the bearer of the good word.” – p. 132
French writer, Jean-Paul Didierlaurent’s The Reader on the 6.27 is a quiet, short novel about loneliness and how the love of books and reading can bring people together. The protagonist is a man named, Guylain Vignolles who delights in reading aloud random passages on his commute to and from work. Guylain is a man who hates his job at a book pulping factory, and his only solace lies in saving pages from the paper-recycling machine that he tends to and reading them aloud on his work commute.
While not long in length, The Reader on the 6.27 took a while for the central plot to get moving. The first few pages were unappealing to me as they were filled with a countless confusing imagery and descriptions of Guylain’s workplace. Initially it wasn’t actually clear to me as to what Guylain did for a living and I ended up having to google the book in order to figure it out, and understand why it was that Guylain despised his job.
Gradually though, the reader becomes acquainted with Guylain and we meet his friend, Yvon who only speaks in Alexandrine and Giuseppe, a former co-worker who had lost the use of his legs due to a workplace accident. It was incredibly heartwarming, the lengths that Guylain went for Giuseppe in order to maintain his friend’s hope and optimism. Interestingly enough, the plot of the USB with a young woman’s diary on it doesn’t come into play into a few chapters into the book.
Regardless, The Reader on the 6.27 is a novel concerning how books and stories bring people together and how stories allow us to escape our world and make people who felt less live become more alive. And while it’s supposed to be taking place in modern society, the setting of the story often feels like its set a century or two ago during a much simpler time. Overall, The Reader on the 6.27 is a quiet, slow and beautiful novel that may be ideal for lovers of the written word.
Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.