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5.0 

The Martins

By David Foenkinos & Sam Taylor
The Martins by David Foenkinos & Sam Taylor digital book - Fable

Publisher Description

A disillusioned Parisian writer finds inspiration in the ordinary lives of his neighbours, the Martins.

‘A wonderful surprise' L'Express

Is it true that every life is the stuff of novels? Or are some people just too ordinary?

This is the question a struggling Parisian writer asks when he challenges himself to write about the first person he sees when he steps outside his apartment. Secretly hoping to meet the beautiful woman who occasionally smokes on his street, he instead sets eyes on octogenarian Madeleine. She’s happy to become the subject of his project, but first she needs to put her shopping away…

Wondering if his project is doomed to be hopelessly banal, he soon finds himself tangled in the lives of Madeleine’s family. Though calm on the surface, the Martins have secrets, troubles and woes, and the writer discovers that the most compelling story is that of an ordinary life.


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1 Review

5.0
“The Martins, translated from French to English, is a fantastically interesting, intriguing and fun book. I wasn't sure exactly what I was getting into with this one, but I found that I actually really enjoyed it. The narrator who normally writes fiction has decided to branch out and write a book on the first person he encounters on the street. He often sees a young woman standing outside near his apartment, smoking and initially this is the person he had in mind when he made the decision to write a book like this. However, the young woman is not there on the day he's out walking. Instead, he sees an 80ish year old woman walking with her grocery trolley and he catches up with her and introduces himself, adding that he'd like to write a book about her. Madeline is surprised at this idea and say she needs to put her groceries away, so he follows her up to her apartment. They end up having a lovely discussion. Madeline's daughter, Valerie arrives and is not happy with his intrusion and accuses him wanting to take advantage, as her mother has early Alzheimer's. He assures her that is not the case, and she agrees to allowing him to continue-if he also writes about her and her family. Suddenly the narrator is thrust into the lives of the Martins. Valerie, her husband Patrick and their two kids, Jeremie and Lola. Hes drawn into their domestic squabbles and in the end he the catalyst for changing their lives dramatically. I really liked this story. I love the idea that a writer might walk up to a stranger and ask to write about them and in the end, end up changing their lives, for the better. The chapters are short, and I love the little footnotes, like memos for himself. There were antidotes about Karl Lagerfeld, whom Madeline had worked for and that was interesting too. All in all, is a clever and charming book.”

About David Foenkinos

David Foenkinos is the author of 17 novels which have been translated into 40 languages. His novel Delicacy was made into a film starring Audrey Tautou. He received the 2014 Prix Renaudot and Prix Goncourt des lycéens for Charlotte.

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