From the charming discomfort of finding a convenient reading position on the beach, to the refreshing coolness of the first sip of beer that you can still feel foaming for a little bit down your throat, through the soothing idleness of a garden during a summer sunset, there are no “small pleasures” that could escape Philippe Delerm’s observant eye. He poetically tackles, with the right words, the joys of life that everyone knows but that no one is actually aware of. “The smell of apples”, “Sunday evenings”, “Soaking your espadrilles”: the author conveys these moments as if they were candy; they are to be savored for a couple of pages; before you know it, they have become distant, warm, sweet memories.
Between a non-existent plot and chapters that could easily qualify as prose poetry, it would seem that by the end of this 90 pages long book nothing has been learnt. And this is exactly where Delerm’s teaching succeeds. From one underestimated pleasure to another, he stops time and reminds us to take it. He puts the exact words on a collective subconscious and creates a quasi-oneiric atmosphere that lets every reader become a dreamer. And this is why The Small Pleasures of Life is not a book that is meant to be read only once; instead, it invites us to open it up again and again, to drift away between its pages, to always remember the beauty of wandering.