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Szczesliwe dni by Laurent Graff

Szczesliwe dni (edition 2009)

by Laurent Graff

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665278,605 (3.14)9
What kind of man buys his grave at the age of eighteen and chooses to spend the rest of his life in a rest home at thirty-five? Meet Antoine, the curious hero of Laurent Graff's Happy Days, an odd young man who somewhat prematurely acquiesces to his terminal destiny. The ultimate fatalist, Antoine decides to play hooky from life by retiring to the Happy Days Retirement Home. Despite the pronounced difference in age, the residents accept him, and he quickly settles into a routine as the life of the party, the sex toy of the nurses, and the best friend of an Alzheimer's patient called Al. It's a carefree life, until the arrival of a dying woman with whom Antione forms a close bond and goes on a very special journey.… (more)
Title:Szczesliwe dni
Authors:Laurent Graff
Info:W.a.B. (2009), Hardcover
Collections:Your library

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Happy Days by Laurent Graff



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Showing 5 of 5
The magazine Marie-Claire said, "It's not a long book, but it takes you far." In fact, Happy Days, though really a novella more than a novel, won the french Prix Millepages.

I think there are two [b:saving grace|130916|The Saving Graces A Novel|Patricia Gaffney|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1171995451s/130916.jpg|126092]s to Happy Days: 1) it's short; and 2) I didn't pay for the book. I will feel no guilt at leaving this behind in my room in South Africa for some other desperate person to come across and read (hey, at least it's not Dan Brown!)

Happy Days is the story of a 36-year-old man named Antione who, after coming into a large inheritance, moves into a retirement community and waits to die. Most of the first half of the book is told in various short vignettes about the nursing home, with much longer portions of existential ramblings about the meaning of life and death. Halfway through the book, he meets Mireille, a cancer patient who is about to die. He embarks on a "science experiement" to watch the way that death claims a person. Predictably, in the end, in witnessing death, Antione learns to love life.

Much of this book reads as if a high-school student wrote it. Certainly, the prose is past the ability of most high school students, but the melodrama is not. This passage exemplifies the somewhat juvenile nature of the writing:

But I am forced to acknowledge that I do not have the talen of Moses; the sea does not open before me, and the horizon still remains blurry, distant, and closed to me, even as the windsurfer now hurls himself out to meet it, riding the waves full speed ahead .... Good luck!

I found this book to be generally tedious, and I wouldn't recommend it. There are only two reasons I am giving it a fair rating, as opposed to a poor rating: I consider Dan Brown to be my standard for the "poor" rating, and this isn't even close to that - though, Dan Brown has more engaging plots even if they are all the same; and I did find one analogy that I liked.

... Wreaths of cigarette smoke drape themselves like B-girls around the necks of the smooth talkers [in bars:].

And that's really the best I can say of it. ( )
  elleceetee | Apr 1, 2013 |
Linda Coverdale was responsible for translating this novella from the original French. I'd like to meet her just so I can tell her how brilliant she is! I was overjoyed with sentences like "For this mortifying cynicism is not an end in itself, but a necessary evil in my attempt to fathom what lurks behind our miserable human condition, an anesthesia that allows me to perform open-heart surgery on man and rummage through his guts." Not a particularly cheerful sentence but you can see how well the translation was done - sentences like this are not often found when writing is linguistically secondhand.
I'm not sure I would have liked the novella so much if it was not so skillfully presented, but as I received it I very much enjoyed it. It is quiet and endearing in all the right ways. ( )
  ratastrophe | Oct 22, 2010 |
Weird story about a healthy young man who buys his grave at 18. When he gets an inheritance in his early thirties, he divorces his wife, quits his job and moves into a retirement home called 'happy days' and spends his days there. He wonders what life is all about, watches the deaths of the old people in 'happy days' but it is hard to come up with an answer about the meaning of life.
  akelei | Jul 2, 2008 |
Happy Days by Laurent Graff, is often amusing but well-written funny novel with poignancy and also without getting heavy.Novel is more narrative journey. Graff manages to keep it light but without being very superficial. Author control his theme and episode of death stops- very well. Author making depressing argument that world is retirement home and all are biding the time before the trauma of death.

more @ http://toogood2read.blogspot.com/2007/11/happy-days-by-laurent-graff.html
  iamyuva | Jan 9, 2008 |
Reading the publishers description of Happy Days, it seemed that this short novel would be fantastic: dark, yet funny. It is the story of Antoine, a man who purchases his own gravesite at the age of eighteen, and voluntarily moves into the Happy Days retirement home at thirty-five--effectively playing hooky from life.

Problem is, the story never goes anywhere. It is filled with fatuous plot twists that are less than interesting, and it is rather hard to care what happens to any of the characters. Maybe something was lost in the translation, but even if I could read French, I cannot say I’d take the time to re-read it in its original language. ( )
2 vote dodger | May 9, 2007 |
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