My grateful thanks to Kathrine MacPherson at Atlantic Books for a copy of Happy People Read and Drink Coffee by Agnes Martin -Lugand and translated by Sandra Smith.
Happy People Read and Drink Coffee will be published by Allen and Unwin in paperback on 2nd March 2017 and is available for purchase here.
Happy People Read and Drink Coffee
Diane, owner of Happy People Read and Drink Coffee, a cosy coffee shop turned library in Paris, seems to have the perfect life. But when she suddenly loses her husband and daughter in a car accident, her life is overturned and the world as she knows it disappears. Trapped by her memories, Diane closes her shop and retreats from friends and family.
One year later, she moves from Paris to a small town on the Irish coast, determined to heal by rebuilding her life alone, without anyone’s help or pity – until she meets Edward, a handsome and moody Irish photographer. Along windy shores and cobbled streets, Diane falls into a surprising and tumultuous romance. As she works to overcome her painful memories, Diane and Edward’s once-in-a-lifetime connection inspires her to love herself and the world around her with new-found inner strength and happiness.
But will it last when Diane leaves Ireland, and Edward, for good?
My Review of Happy People Read and Drink Coffee
Still in the depths of despair a year after her husband and daughter died after a car crash, Diane leaves her Paris home for Ireland.
Happy People Read and Drink Coffee tells the emotional story of Diane’s grief and recovery and her relationship with Edward, but somehow it didn’t touch me in the way I expected. I wonder if there may be more affecting prose in the original French. I found the dialogue quite script like and would have liked more description to get a sense of place more thoroughly. I also found the use of semi-colons peculiarly distracting.
I didn’t warm to Diane despite her grief and I think this says more about me as a reader than it does of the quality of the writing. Diane smokes continuously, as do Edward and Felix and I abhor smoking with a passion so I think I had slightly detached myself from the read as a result.
Edward is very reminiscent of Edward Rochester with his taciturn personality and even his dog, Postman Pat, is huge like Rochester’s Pilot. He’s certainly the mean and moody type but I wasn’t convinced that every disagreement had to be settled by violence. I would have liked greater depth to the characterisation and more exploration of the psyches presented.
It sounds as if I didn’t enjoy Happy People Read and Drink Coffee and I did. I think it just didn’t quite meet my expectations, feeling more like a Young Adult novel to me and perhaps I ought to have approached it more that way as a reader.
About Agnes Martin-Lugand
After six years as a clinical psychologist, Agnes Martin-Lugand now devotes herself to writing full-time. She is also the author of Happiness Slips Through My Fingers (Entre mes mains le bonheur se faufile) and the sequel to Happy People, Don’t Worry, Life Is Easy (La vie est facile, ne t’inquiete pas).