This quiet novel, the first of French novelist Dominique Fabre’s works to be translated into English, is a lyrical and poignantly amusing study that taps right into the heart of the human condition. Following the inner musings of 56-year-old barman Pierre over the course of a few days, the novel explores the consequences of the choices we make, the loneliness of aging, and the dignity that arises from being of service and work, all with an attentive observation that is simply exquisite.
“I shook hands with a few regulars I’d got to know over the years without really trying to. They’re here, they come in for a drink, a bite to eat, they read the bar’s newspaper. They never forget what they are, or all the things they have to do, but for a few minutes, maybe an hour or two, they put themselves between parentheses, and I bear the name of that thing in their lives.”