Diary Of A Body
By Daniel Pennac
A French counterpart to Adrian Mole, by one of Europe's best-loved comic writers
From a particularly humiliating accident at scout camp, to the final stages of terminal illness, Daniel Pennac's warm, witty and heart-breaking novel shows the rise and fall of an ordinary man, told through his observations of his own body.
It is with damp eyes (not to mention underpants) that our narrator begins his diary, seeking through it to come to terms with the demoralising quirks of his fleshy confines. Through the joys and horrors of puberty to the triumphs of adolescence, we grow to love him through every growth, leak and wound, as he finds himself developing muscles, falling in love, and then leaving school to join the French Resistance.
Yet, as ever, this is only half the story. As years pass and hairs grey, everything he took for granted begins to turn against him. Tackling taboo topics with honesty and charm, Pennac's wit remains sharp even as everything else begins to sag. This is a hugely original story of the most relatable of unlikely love stories: a human, and the body that defines him.
Translated from the French by Alyson Waters
Daniel Pennac was born in 1944 in Morocco. He was a teacher before becoming a writer of books for children and a series of hugely successful humorous novels. A continued interest in education and social affairs led to his book The Rights of the Reader, and thereafter to School Blues, for which he won the Prix Renaudot.
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- Publication date:
04 Feb 2016
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Pennac has always been a funny writer, and one capable of the odd moment of breath-catchingly beautiful insight, too; but more than anything he is simply the most humane of writers, the most generously understanding of his fellow human. In Diary of a Body he has found just one more new, inspired way to show it. — Daniel Hahn, Guardian.
Daniel Pennac is on top form — Anne Crignon, Le Nouvel Observateur
In the style of Jean-Jacques Rousseau... Daniel Pennac sets off on an astounding, utterly unique literary adventure — Jean-Claud Raspiengeas, La Croix
It's all here, in sharp detail. No orifice or appendage can withhold any secrets from Pennac, neither secretion nor emission... Here is the story of every fibre of our bodies — Patrick Granville, Figaro