The Red Notebook tells the story of Laurent Letellier, a bookseller living in Paris. One day, he finds an abandoned ladies handbag. Looking inside with a hope to reuniting it with its owner, he finds no money, wallet or personal contact information. What he does find is a small, red notebook which is full of handwritten private thoughts, lists and jottings. The longer he spends in possession of this notebook, the more it reveals someone who Laurent wants to get to know – a woman named Laure. This book is his journey to try to find her in a city full of strangers.
Written by Antoine Laurain, this book has been translated from French by Jane Aitken and Emily Boyce. I’d previously read The President’s Hat so I had a small idea of what to expect. I loved that book so I was very excited and intrigued when The Red Notebook arrived. I love the covers of both this book and The President’s Hat. They are beautifully drawn and adds to the whimsical theme of the book.
This book isn’t very long. It is under 200 pages so I read it in a couple of sittings. It’s perfect for if you want a book for a train journey or a lazy afternoon. The style of writing is easy to get into and I was reading it not realising a huge chunk of time has passed.
Antoine, in my opinion, captures Paris so well. I’ve been twice before and I really do want to go back again after reading this book. The setting and atmosphere in this book is great.
It’s a lovely, charming story about two people who have never met. Laure especially seems a little lost. There were elements of her character I empathised and related with (aside from her name.) I lived in London for a while. I didn’t know many people there at the time and it’s amazing how lonely a large city can feel if you’re alone. Therefore, I wanted to know that she was going to be OK – especially when you read the events at the beginning of the book (I don’t want to say too much as I don’t want to give it away.)
Laurent sets about finding Laure and this adds mystery to the novel. The plot works well. I did have an idea of how I wanted it to end. There was enough mystery to keep me wanting to turn the page.
This is a mystery, detective, romance and self discovery novel all in one. There is an enchanting, magical air about it.
A lovely, charming book.
(The Red Notebook is available in paperback from most major bookshops. Thank you to Gallic Books for the review copy. Click here to view on Amazon UK.)
Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.