Review: The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain

I received an advanced review copy of this title from Gallic Books.  It has been translated from the French by Jane Aitken and Emily Boyce.

My Review:
The Red NotebookIf you found a purse in the street with no identification in it what would you do with it?  Would you take it to the police? Would you throw it away?  When Laurent finds an expensive woman’s purse in the street that contains no wallet, all of these questions run through his mind.  He finally decides to take the purse to his apartment and see if he can find any information about its owner.  His decision to not throw the purse away and try to find it’s rightful owner says quite a bit about Laurent as an honest and sentimental character.

What Laurent does find inside the purse are very intimate details about a stranger’s life.  This unknown woman has placed pictures, a keychain with hieroglyphic script, and special rocks in her satchel.  Most importantly Laurent finds a red notebook in which this woman was recording her most private thoughts.  Laurent decides he must find this woman because he feels that, through his perusal of her mementos, he has gotten to know her and has developed a fondness for her.

The purse belongs to Laure who, at the very beginning of the story, has been hit on the head and mugged.  The thief takes her purse, removes everything of value from it and dumps it on the street in Paris.  Due to the trauma to her head Laure spends two weeks in the hospital in a coma.  When she wakes up and remembers the theft of her purse, it is the loss of her personal items that bothers her the most.

The book is suspenseful because we never know if Laurent can manage to put enough clues together to find Laure.  It is actually his teenage daughter, who at first appears to be a selfish little brat, that helps her father find Laure.  We know from the details given throughout the novel that Laurent and Laure are lonely and have been for quite some time.  They both also have a love of books.  So if they do manage to find each other they are obviously a perfect match.

THE RED NOTEBOOK is uplifting, heart-warming with the just the right amount of drama. I recommend it as the perfect novel to enjoy while you are sitting outside on a sunny spring day.

About The Author:
antoine_laurain150x200Antoine Laurain was born in Paris and is a journalist, antiques collector and the author of five novels. The President’s Hat, a charming fable set in the Mitterrand years, was awarded the Prix Landerneau Découvertes and the Prix Relay in 2012 and is published in English by Gallic. It was a Waterstones Book Club book and ABA Indies Introduce pick in 2013. Antoine was chosen to represent France at European Literature Night 2014.


Filed under France, Literature in Translation

4 responses to “Review: The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain

  1. I read (and thoroughly enjoyed) The President’s Hat and this sounds similar. I’m definitely going looking for The Red Notebook!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am intrigued by the echoing names: Laurain, Laurent, Laure. What is the daughter’s name? I wonder about the significance of this. Clearly, a very personal story, and the names are another link between these fated lovers as main characters.

    Liked by 1 person

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