publisher: Atlantic Books
date of publication: English version in 2014 – original version in 2009
my bookreview: In the 60’s, Michel is a 12-year-old-boy, keen on books and an expert in table football. With his older brother’s friends he discovers politics and rock & roll. But what really changes his life is what he finds behind a curtain in the bistro: The Incorrigible Optimists Club. A group of refugees, mostly from Eastern Europe, playing chess, drinking wine, laughing and sometimes arguing loudly. All of them have fled their countries, leaving behind wives and children but each of them has his own story…
Rich in detail and cultural references, this European best-seller offers us a delicious foretaste of a French-Parisian lifestyle. You will discover Paris, its bistros and parks through Michel’s young eyes and his older friends’ foreign gaze on politics and philosophy. The Algerian War of Independence and Cold War background of the novel as well as the historical and fictional characters give a revolutionary atmosphere to this book. But Jean-Michel Guenassia also illustrates the tender feelings of a teenager discovering who he is, which is even more complicated when growing up in a family that is falling apart…
I highly recommend this delightful-amazing-moving novel to everyone!
recommended age: from 16 yo