A Case of Foreign Accent Syndrome
Original title: Le syndrome de l’accent étranger
A lovely, poetic and completely off-kilter debut novel. A bit of literary madness that does a mind good.
Désiré, a street-sweeper in the city of Paris, finds a bag someone left behind in the metro. In it, a computer. When he turns it on and discovers the first pages of a novel, it awakens a long forgotten sense of enthusiasm. A sense he had forgotten since he left Mauritius to become a humble immigrant. He knows plenty of words but does not know how to write them down, so he asks Marie, a volunteer, to help him write a very daring letter to the author: he will only get his computer back if he writes the rest of the story.
Thus commences an exchange of letters between Désiré and budding novelist Alexandre, a cook from Brittany, still reeling from a bad break-up. Since Alexandre doesn’t quite know what to do with Sophie, one of his characters who suffer from a rare but very real ailment – foreign accent syndrome – he asks Désiré for help.
The two men who never should have met join together in an adventure – a sensitive, funny but also painful adventure. And as they move forward together, they might just help each other get over their respective mental hurdles and find new meaning in life.