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The Mystery of Henri Pick by David Foenkinos, Pushkin Press

Posted by Dathaí books@dinglebookshop.com on

In an obscure library in an obscure little town in Brittany there is a curious library dedicated to rejected manuscripts. Delphine Despero, a young Parisian editor, visits the library while on holiday, expecting little from this collection of faded dreams, and discovers an unpublished novel written by a local pizza chef which thrills her to the core. She is determined that it will become a publishing sensation, and so it does.

The apparent author, Henri Pick, has died many years before. His sudden reemergence stirs up a ferment of passionate speculation and unexpected consequences. A sceptical journalist comes to town to uncover what he is convinced is a hoax. How could a semi-literate man who could barely write a shopping list have written such a masterpiece? The confusion spreads in ever-widening circles.

This is a delightful and playful book, full of engaging characters, with numerous unexpected twists and turns and stuffed with witty aperçus about writing. Some readers will find echoes of many writers, including Jorge Luis Borges, but it wears these clothes lightly, with humour and generosity.  All in all, its cleverness and sheer Frenchness makes one grin... How we have missed it!

Note:  if you liked this book, look out for other new titles of similar type, also published by Pushkin Press.

The film of the book has just become available