January Book Club pick: NO & ME by Delphine de Vigan


It’s time to stir yourself from any residual Christmas-pudding induced lassitude (I confess!) and spring into the Happy New Year Book Club book.

I’ve chosen NO & ME by Delphine de Vigan – a French novel that I completely fell in love with when I first read it.  There are some books that get you in their grip and don’t let go – and, for me, this was one of those.

I also love writers that force me to pause and think (about life, the universe and everything, or at least something). This is about home and homelessness (and hope) and there is no way you can slip through it without looking slightly differently at the people living on our streets and in stations… especially when the weather is as downright horrendous as it is at the moment.

There is a line in the book, spoken (or screamed) by its wonderful 13-year old narrator, Lou Bertignac: “We can put up 600-metre-high skyscrapers, build hotels underwater and artificial islands in the shape of palm leaves, we can invent ‘intelligent’ building materials that absorb organic and inorganic pollutants from the atmosphere, we can create robot vacuum cleaners and lamps that come on when you get home.  And we can leave people to live on the side of the road…” She wants to change things and this is a book about how she tries, what happens and how she grows up a bit.

But please don’t think it is a serious or depressing book – it is tender and funny and deceptively simple.  Rereading it now, I appreciate it in a slightly different way and am more conscious of the cleverness and spareness of the writing, and the structure…perhaps one day I might actually read it in French?

Anyway over to you – I hope you enjoy it and don’t forget to let us know if you’ll be joining the Hot Key Book Club this month!