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The Fountain Pen’s Journey (Tour de plume)



Original Language: French | 208 pp. | May 2011

2 Seas Represents: Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian, and Swedish Rights.

Depending on the publisher and the quality of the translation, translations from the French can be funded by the Centre national du livre.


This swirling and surprising novel offers, through a series of contemporary portraits, a reflection on litterature, the act of writing and the direction of life itself. Highly readable, its writing follows the personality of whoever gets hold of it.

Push the door to Mr H’s bookshop and you will find him at the counter hiding his frustration behind an affable smile. Mr H. is a big lover of literature and is at his wits end because he is unable to write his great work. After 40 fruitless years, he seems ready to lay down his weapons – in this case, his fountain pen – and concentrate on selling books.

One day a young girl, Isis, comes into the shop to ask for directions, she draws up a rough map and succombing to temptation pinches the bookseller’s  pen. The object then passes from hand to hand via an extraordinary cast of characters: Isis herself, the fragile teenager with her unusual, intimate journals; Paul, a deceptively ordinary man, who leads himself astray on well watered random evenings out; Sybille, “the bookworm”,  who over the years has happily given in to obesity; Emma, a tidy thirty-something whose sudden irrationality reopens old wounds; Romain Hisper, a renowned writer.

And thus, with brio, unfolds a story that reveals the flaws in each of them. This Tour de Force leaves a bitter-sweet taste as it weaves the links between a love of books and the man’s scars.