The Rest of Their Lives by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent

rest of their lives

Oh dear, what to read? There is a pandemic going on and on. I don’t want anything sad or difficult. I don’t want anything long and heavy, I haven’t got the concentration for that now. However, I do not want to read frivilous nonsense. I am a difficult reader to satisfy in the current circumstances.

Why should I read “The Rest of Their Lives” by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent? It is funny and sensitive and it deals with death in a suprisingly gentle humane way. The main characters Manelle and Ambroise carry baggage in their young lives which helps to ground the novel. Rash decisions regretted, grief poorly dealt with, family communication broken down.

They are sensitive souls living in a harsh modern world where life seems to be undervalued. They each have a laugh in their separate spheres: the clown moment, the buying cheap sweets in a local shop. It is when they meet that the larger issues come to the surface. The value of life at all its stages and the importance of love emerge as the central themes of the novel.

How does the author pack such big issues into a very quick read – light and easy, yet serious and lasting? Didierlaurent is a prize winning french short story writer and he knows his craft. Give this slim volume a chance to make you laugh, to make you admire our carers and to reassure you that life is precious.

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