The Numbers Add Up

Original title: Le compte est bon

Publication Date:

August 2023



Original language and publisher

French | La Peuplade

Territories Handled

Netherlands, North America, Scandinavia


Debut Novel, Literary Fiction


  • Prix de la page 111 (longlisted)

The Numbers Add Up

Original title: Le compte est bon


A debut novel of striking orality, about the debt we owe to those who love us.

The child arrives in his family at the age of five days. From a very young age, he is plagued by love and money. Does one have a debt towards someone when one is adopted? From then on, he obsessively counts losses and gains: a pilfered chocolate, a confiscated twenty-dollar bill, the prize from a TV game show, gifts to his mother, missed acts… But in all of this, how can he find something that’s in it for him? How can one count onto oneself when there is a gap, a breach, a hole that exists between one’s childhood memories and what really happened, between one’s social background and one’s newfound passions?

Ruthlessly observant, often deadpan and always moving, The Numbers Add Up is a wellspring of lively style. Louis-Daniel Godin tells stories by counting, jumping from number to number, from letter to letter, to set the counter to zero, to express the idea of writing a book in order to get even with life, a book on the impossibility of becoming oneself.


He sees a lady giving money to his mother and his mother giving money to another lady, so when he plays by pretending to go grocery shopping and pays for his order by giving the exact amount without knowing that he has just given the exact amount, when he pays for his fake groceries by giving the exact amount to his sister and his sister gives him nothing in return, nothing but the food he bought, he cries, he cries at this injustice, he cries because he doesn’t know how to count yet, there is something to understand in that…

Marketing Information

  • The Numbers Add Up is longlisted for the Prix Wepler 2023.