Editor's Lit: August

Updated: 2 Aug 2013

Time Out says

Each book tells a tale of lost and found, and involves a journey at great emotional expense. Although not tearjerkers, Su Aziz finds these books will evoke gentle melancholia for a brief moment but you’ll perk up quickly again with Borders’ 25 per cent discount vouchers they come with.

Seek, they say, and you shall find. So, Gayle Forman’s protagonist in ‘Just One Day’ (RM48.50/Dutton), does. The funny thing about this book targeted at young adults is, it has the elegant and matured feel of Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy’s films ‘Before Sunrise’, ‘Before Sunset’ and the newly released ‘Before Midnight’ – it’s quiet, seemingly average but just with a small ripple something happens with a chance encounter that summons change in big waves.

In Forman’s first instalment – the sequel called ‘Just One Year’ is coming soon – a sheltered American high school graduate celebrates with a group trip to Europe. There, she meets with a free-spirited Dutch actor, follows him to Paris for a day, had a whirlwind romance (and tour of the city), falls in love and finds him gone the morning after.

It all could have ended right there but like a dog with a bone, she can’t let it go. Hence began her search for him within a year since he disappeared. What’s lovely about reading this book is the moment you realise of her growing strength as she becomes the person she’s meant to be and out of her comfort zone, leaving behind a life that’s ‘packed, planned and ordered’.

It has been described as a book about ‘love, heartbreak, travel, identity and the accidents of fate’. However, it may well be a book that screams about ‘how sometimes in order to get found, you first have to get lost’. Although, to me, it’s a book to escape into with Forman’s uncomplicated writing style, real characters against gorgeous Paris as a backdrop and sympathetic way at projecting rejection.

On the same thread, ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’ by Rachel Joyce (RM32.90/Random House), tells of lost and found too. Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize award, this one’s a joy to read simply because it’s been awhile since a good road trip tale was written.

It all begins with a letter (notice how it often does?) that quiet and newly retired Harold Fry receives one morning. The letter being a catalyst for his 600-mile trek on foot (including getting lost) that takes 87 days to reach its sender who’s dying of cancer in the north of England.

The superstar quality about this story and Joyce’s unpretentious style reflected in poignant prose dotted with humour is, their ability to keep you palpitating, addicted and sorrowful that the last word of the book is near, forcing the end of Harold’s urgent quest and for you to let go. But also elated because then you’d understand what are the chain of events that has fired up his urgency to see the sender after 20 years of silence between them.

The thing is, you will be rooting for him to complete the journey simply because he believes, only while he walks will she remain alive. Whether this is the case or not, you'll just to pick up the book and find out for yourself. Believe me, it'll be well worth your effort because this is an irresistible and wise tale of redemption.

Get 25 per cent discount on ‘Just One Day’ and/or ‘Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’ by either printing out
this voucher or flashing this page on your phone to a Borders’ cashier upon payment. This offer is only valid in Borders Queensbay Mall until Aug 31, 2013. Printed or digital coupon is valid for one-time use only and is not valid with other promotions.


Tags: Books