Manual Love and Happiness: A Novel

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Geos included are France, America, Africa, and China. Other than that, I was completely unmoved or inspired by this work. Maybe I expected too much, but I found it to be a bit disappointing. Apr 03, Amber rated it it was amazing Shelves: librarybooks.

Hector is a Psychiatrist who cannot make his patients happy so he decides to go on a pilgrimage to see what makes people happy. Will he be satisfied with the answers he seeks? Read on and find out for yourself. This was a pretty good read. I saw the film first starring Simon Pegg and it went just like this book which is a good and sad story. Definitely check this book out at your local library and wherever books are sold. View all 3 comments. Hector was sitting on another airplane, and he was reading a novel he had bought at the airport just before leaving.

Curiously enough, it was called Le Voyage d'Hector , and it was about another young psychiatrist with the same name, who took it into his head to wonder what happiness was and went on a long journey to find out. From time to time, Hector looked at the man next to him, who was also reading. He had a thick book, but Hector noticed that he only read one or two pages at a time, and in Hector was sitting on another airplane, and he was reading a novel he had bought at the airport just before leaving. He had a thick book, but Hector noticed that he only read one or two pages at a time, and in between he took little naps.

And somehow he looked a bit sad. The rest of this review is available elsewhere the location cannot be given for Goodreads policy reasons I loved this book immensely! It was an utterly charming little book. Loved it. Can't wait to read book 2. Jul 17, Bettie rated it liked it Shelves: tbr-busting , travel , e-book , translation , philosophy , upbeat , how-to , psychology , shortstory-shortstories-novellas , published Description: Hector is very good at treating patients in need of his help.

Combin Description: Hector is very good at treating patients in need of his help. Opening: ONCE upon a time there was a young psychiatrist called Hector who was not very satisfied with himself. Hector, our eponymous, kind, caring, yet also very tired hero decides to head to China in Tintin's footsteps A quick, simply wrought story that left me in a state of quiet happiness. Film Trailer. In the words of BrokenTune: 'what a cast'. I couldn't agree more.

View 1 comment. This is one of those times I really wished I would have checked out the reviews here first before I picked the book up. I bought this book on a whim at a used bookstore without really knowing much about it, and being totally honest the adorable cover art really had a lot to do with the purchase. I had heard some buzz about the book but had not looked into it much and I haven't seen the film and definitely won't now.

As many reviewers have stated much more eloquently than I can the "lessons" Hec This is one of those times I really wished I would have checked out the reviews here first before I picked the book up. As many reviewers have stated much more eloquently than I can the "lessons" Hector supposedly learned are nothing that you can't find elsewhere and they are really overshadowed by the way that Hector both treats and thinks about women, which quite frankly completely undermines any rapport I may have had with the protagonist. I feel that this makes both the narrative and the character of Hector completely unsympathetic and ruins this book for me, cute cover art or not.

View 2 comments. Jan 07, astried rated it it was ok Shelves: , voices-from-the-couch. Maybe I've became cynical I noticed I can't enjoy those philosophical full-of-meaning yet so straightforward kind of book anymore. Once upon a time I've loved Coelho's The Alchemist. I found it so profound and it enriched my life to the point of overflowing. Now I cringe each time I read deep-meaningful sentences. I run away from books that were marketed as insightful, life changing, etc. I bought Laskar Pelangi series for my mother and refused to touch it despite her being wax poetic about i Maybe I've became cynical I bought Laskar Pelangi series for my mother and refused to touch it despite her being wax poetic about it.

I'm afraid to re-read Seno's short stories collection that used to be my anchor in life, afraid of ruining what it meant for me. The thing is I suppose all those books are so keen on being sincere and earnest I can't trust it anymore. They practically spelled out their belief on good way of living your life as if me as a reader is incapable of reading between the lines; incapable of learning from something bad as much as from something good. Perhaps I found that a bit insulting as well. What about being subtle?

What about letting me find out what I want to learn from it by myself? What about crediting me with some brain? I never did like being lectured or reading books with an obvious lesson in it. I read it at a wrong time. I should've read it years ago when I saw it first filling bookstore's and library's shelves in Germany. When I still liked to read Jostein Gaarder. Not to say that this book is completely bad. The list itself is fairly valid for me.

It's just wrapping story that sucks so bad. You know what, if he had published only the list in coffe table format with some wonderful illustration, I might've enjoyed it more. As it is, I needed to force myself to read through it just because I'm so near the end and the book is so thin I don't think I can forgive myself to abandon it. Goodbye Hector, don't expect to meet me again. Perhaps I'll continue reading the book on history of marriage which feels so dry yet authorative.

Give me some statistic or technical elaboration. Give me acidic words, burnt bridges; I'm swearing off cotton candy for a while. Give me some Greene; Greene is always good; Greene is a nice piece of medium raw steak. Btw, had I known being a psychiater meant having the capability to talk yourself out of brigand's clutch or to make friends with practically everyone or made yourself being loved by all women you met, I'd have chosen your career long time ago. Tough luck for me!

Hector is a psychiatrist. A successful psychiatrist who enjoys his job and is very good at it. Because he likes people and is interested in them. But Hector had a concern. Why were so many people who had everything - career success, money, family, friends - not happy. It really worried him. And that was why, when one of his patients told him that he looked tired, he decided to take a holiday. To travel the world and uncover the answer to the question that caused him so much concern. Where does happ Hector is a psychiatrist. Where does happiness come from?

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Now this may be sounding a little simplistic. A little child-like even. And in a way it is - Hector's story is written in the style of a children's book. But it works because that perfectly balances an underlying intelligence and a serious theme. And that particular combination turns this little book into a lovely fable for grown-ups.


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And so to Hector's journey. He crisscrossed the globe, meeting an extraordinary array of characters, and getting into - and out of - some very strange situations. His professional skills and his genuine interest in people came in very useful. Those characters and those experiences bring light and shade to the story, and they allow Hector to build up a list of twenty-five important lessons about happiness.

Hector is an engaging character and his is a lovely story. It's the sort of story that I could probably find a hole in if I wanted to, but I don't want to. It's that kind of book! And so to the final question. Does Hector get a happy ending? Well, that would be telling! But there are sequels, and so the ending of this book is not goodbye for good. I'm looking forward to meeting Hector again one of these days.

I gave up in the middle of the book. I can't take it anymore, I can't take anymore of his pseudo-psychological bullshit which has nothing to do with "happiness" or how to achieve it. This book is degrading women and relationships in every possible way while being extremly racist on the side. I had to stop reading so I don't scream and rip the whole book apart.

Apr 04, Amina rated it really liked it. Lesson no. I spent a great great time with this lovely book, Hector takes you through his journey to find out more about happiness, and indeed, he gives a lot to think about View all 5 comments. I guessed it was hinting on the unfair class system pertinent to the modern world societies.

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

His trip and the book rolls on and on to form a compilation of 20 tips about what happiness is. Unfortunately, the tips can be found on mugs and posters sold in every supermarket, and its nothing new, theres nothing about the initial more fundamental problems. Just the usual: happiness is to have a fulfilling job and family and friends and someone to love and someone to love you back and so on and so forth. Francoise Lelord has had a successful career as a psychiatrist in the USA and France, and now writes full-time. It's really difficult to compartmentalise this novel into any specific genre - it's fictionalised self-help in a way, and could be classed as a modern-day fable.

The lead character, Hector, is a psychiatrist, he is successful in his career and enjoys helping people. Hector has noticed th Francoise Lelord has had a successful career as a psychiatrist in the USA and France, and now writes full-time. Hector has noticed that many people seem to be unhappy, even those that have money, family and good jobs. One of his patients tells him one day that he looks tired, so he decides to take a 'busman's' holiday. He decides to travel the world in search of what real happiness is.

The book follows Hector on his journey across the world to different countries. During his trip he meets many people - Hector is a friendly kind of guy and strikes up conversation with anyone, from a monk to a gangster. He learns something from everyone that he meets - and compiles a list of things that make people really happy. Although a psychiatrist, Hector is very naive - he finds himself in some improbable situations, but his good nature, innocence and understanding nature gets him out of trouble every time. Hector does find out what happiness is and by the end of the story, the reader also will realise just what real happiness is.

This is a heart-warming story, charmingly written and full of clever insights. Sometimes this sort of 'discover yourself' novel can be patronising, overly sentimental or a little twee - Hector is none of these. It is amusing, warm and quite adventurous.

This is the first in the Hectors Journeys series which have already sold millions of copies worldwide and I look forward to reading the next in the series. The book is soon to be a major film from the makers of The Last Station. Jun 15, Danielle rated it did not like it. Hector makes assumptions on what would make these mundane lives better, and then calls these assumptions 'lessons on happiness. These people's opinions and brains are then turned into 'lessons on happiness' now, all these experiences and lessons are told in the most simplistic almost idiotic manner and are text-book in their delivery.

Jun 01, Megan rated it it was amazing. I thought that this was an amazing book. I practically couldn't put it down, and the entire time I was reading it I felt like everybody I knew should read it.

Aminatta Forna | Official Website | Happiness, a novel

I saw that this book got an average rating of about 3. The author was very careful to present people in almost generalities. I appreciated it, because although you find yourself wanting more detail because that's what you are used to, the fact of the matter is more detail I thought that this was an amazing book.

I appreciated it, because although you find yourself wanting more detail because that's what you are used to, the fact of the matter is more detail might bring a bit more dimension to the story, but then again, Hector is a psychiatrist and he sticks to the basics and the thought patterns In this way, I think it makes it easier for the reader to understand what's going on, which could get lost in "flowery" details. This book is a good one to read anytime but especially if you are feeling a little lost and aren't quite sure how to smile again. I found myself learning a few things I didn't know, and feeling comforted by the stories of others.

Some of it isn't nice, but it isn't horrible to read, either. Overall, I'm giving it a 5 because it was exactly what I needed when I read it, and I think it could me the same for many others. This is not usually the kind of book I read. The first thing that caught my attention was the cute-looking cover. It was so pleasant to look at that I couldn't help myself and bought it. It seemed like that type of books that tried to 'spiritualize' its readers by churning out life lessons and whatnot through a fictional tale But I didn't give up on this book and before I knew it, I was already halfway through and I was - surprisingly - pleasantly enjoying it.

The reason why I end up liking this book quite a lot, actually, is not through the writing itself. The book is originally written in French and I don't think I'll be qualified to judge whether the quality of writing is good or not because I haven't read the original version. The translation is nice enough and retained some of that 'French' voice at different turns of the book but not on the whole.

The language is quite easy and shouldn't be a problem to non-native English speakers, although at times I find myself wanting the words and the phrases to be more 'challenging'. The point is, the book is light and shouldn't repel people from reading it because it's not some high form of literature.

But that's not why I enjoyed the book I didn't realize I've been unhappy until I read Hector. The main character, Hector, made a few observations about life and happiness and his and other people's perceptions of it in the story that made me in turn question myself on whether I am happy or not. The answer to that question is: no, I am not at this period happy with my life.

So, like Hector, I wanted to find happiness. Since he's already in the search for it, I decided to follow him on his journey to see if he managed to find it at the end. The story itself is unimportant although, I have to say, it is very entertaining to read about a Frenchman's journey to various places in the world and trying to learn of its cultures because, in the end, what the book does is make us reflect on our lives and ourselves.

We're not going to be made happy by the story of the book - hence, Hector's story itself does not necessarily bring the happiness in our life - but we can learn and find ways to be happy by reading about him. At least, that's how Hector makes me feel. At the end of the book, I was still unhappy but I feel like I could do better things in my life and try to make myself happier instead of just complaining all the time. It's a book that makes me take a closer look at my life and question myself All in all, it was very clever.

The author, Francois Lelord, is a psychiatrist. The character in his book is a psychiatrist. I feel like I've consulted with a capable, understanding shrink through the pages of this book Hector is hardly original so I wouldn't put it on a pedestal, say that it's changed my life and recommend it to everyone.

Reading it is a personal experience, so I think I'll just end this review by saying it was good for me and I'm glad I read it. It might also be good enough for you but it's entirely up to you if you want to try it. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers.

This Particular Happiness: A Childless Love Story

To view it, click here. The first -- very noticeable -- thing that irked me about the book was the very childlike tone used throughout story. But it put me off instead of drawing me into the story. In connection to the childlike language, I found it quite disturbing how naive, childlike, and even how oblivious Hector was. Even in some of the decisions he made, he was childlike.

He seemed to have no regard for the feelings of Clara as long as he experienced pleasure with Ying Li and the cousin. Another thing that bothered me was how, throughout the book, it was repeatedly mentioned how it hurt for Hector to look at really beautiful women. Really, Hector?! Can you not control yourself? And the way he fixated on Ying Li was quite unhealthy, too.

He saw her as a damsel in distress and, despite not realizing it right away, he fantasized about being her hero. To use the words of another reviewer Tahira , Hector "fetishized, exoticized or objectified women" too often to go unnoticed by me.

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I also didn't fail to notice and be bothered by a particular statement in the book. As Hector sat in the car in a traffic jam, He wondered whether belief in God was a lesson in happiness. No, he couldn't make that a lesson because you don't choose whether to believe in God or not. Because I would beg to differ. Because if to stop believing improves someone's happiness, then let them stop believing. And if one can experience happiness from embracing the existence of this God, then let them believe.

But if this wasn't the intention of the author, please enlighten me. I seriously want to understand what the statement was about. This state may be considered a place of safety, a refuge. How important is memory, both the good and the bad, to you as a writer?

AF: Memories are what shape us. Memories are based on experience, but how we remember the experience is more important than the experience itself. Consciously or unconsciously each one of us creates the narrative of our lives and that is both informed by and informs the way we see the world. AF: When I create a character I create a voice for them. I listen closely to people from their world. Croatians in general are economical with words, to the point of dispensing entirely with definite articles. Duro is an excellent hunter, an occupation which demands patience and silence; he prefers his own company to that of other people.

So it is his voice that speaks in The Hired Man. AV: One of the ironies of The Hired Man is that Kos, the blind hunting dog, can easily find his way, yet Laura and Duro are blind to what is around them. It seems inconceivable that Duro can remain in the company of Fabjan and Kresimir after what they have done to those he loved. How can these people live amongst people who have been so cruel? AF: We all live among people who are that cruel, or at least potentially cruel.

They need something like a civil war, some breakdown in law and order, which removes the restraints of ordinary society. Duro knows this because he is close to nature and its ways; he has no illusions about human nature. Agnes has no illusions either. Agnes would have grown up knowing poverty and hardship and she would have had few romantic illusions about the world. Both must stay silent, yet Duro has found a way to turn that silence into a weapon against his enemies by threatening to break it. Agnes has no such resource; her silence is turned inward and her mind has found the only way it can to cope with the horror of her predicament.

AV: Your latest novel, Happiness , revolves primarily around Dr. Attila Asare, a Ghanan psychiatrist, and Jean Turane, an American social biologist who is studying the habits of urban foxes in London. Also, since you are Sierra Leonean and Scottish, do you feel English? So in a way Ishiguro and I are both the cow and the viewer of the cow. Do I think of myself as English? Identity is multi-layered and overlapping, far more untidy than I have just suggested. I went to boarding school in England for twelve years and then university.

I have lived in London for thirty years and for the last three years in Washington D. I am married to an Englishman. I am probably far more culturally English than I am Scottish, having spent much more time in England than Scotland. AV: Is it fair to assume from your novel that foxes are fairly common in London? Also, based on your research of wolves, coyotes, and foxes, what did you find most surprising? AF: Foxes are everywhere in London. I have foxes in my garden, where a vixen raises her cubs every year.

Like all Londoners I am very used to the proximity of foxes. I never realized coyotes were equally prevalent in American towns and cities; I had assumed them to be mostly rural. A wildlife biologist told me that in Boston you are probably never more than meters from a coyote. The speed at which coyotes evolved from a desert to an urban environment has been astonishing. Their adaptability is what has allowed them to survive strenuous efforts to kill them.

You have to admire them for it. Finally she laid her cheek against his chest and felt the beating of his heart, turned to bury her face in his fur. She had never forgotten. Is Jean, who is divorced from her husband Ray, in some kind of sexual limbo before she falls in love with Attila? AF: I would not have said this was intended to be sexual. The moment for Jean is in the transition between studying the animal in the abstract and feeling it as a living, breathing creature.

If I were to use an analogy I would say, like a parent having a child placed in her or his arms for the first time, the emotions produced in that moment are far deeper and more complex once the idea of a child becomes a reality. AV: Jean has a very contentious radio interview. Was this scene based on something you experienced? They are far more direct, even hectoring, especially on more populist shows—although still not in the league of American talk radio. I know how the inside of a radio studio operates because I have been in them many times, both as guest and presenter.

War is in the blood of humans. AF: Look around you. I recently spoke to a conflict negotiator who was, very much like Attila himself, a trained psychologist. He had spent many years working in Northern Ireland, which is where he was from. He told me that human beings reflexively want what somebody else wants and will try to take it by one means or another.

A friend of mine, a war correspondent with thirty years of experience, put it even more succinctly. He said. The Ancient Greeks stole women. Most modern wars have been fought over land, and increasingly, wars are fought over resources such as oil and soon enough water. People think wars are fought over religion, race, or ethnicity, but those things merely act as a justification.

Or he had anyway, the knowledge had nourished him for decades. He could not imagine what it was like not to wake with that sense of purpose. AF: When I became a writer I felt this overwhelming sense of relief that I had found the thing I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

My restlessness was over. I feel profoundly lucky. AF: No, I made it up. I made up Greenhampton too. My inspiration for the statue came from those statues to settlers who murdered Native Americans, a few of which still exist in American towns. The statues exist to commemorate not those killed but the killer, to venerate slaughter. AF: The paradox is that happiness is not contingent on the absence of suffering, but the reverse—that surviving difficulty can lead to happiness.

In this culture we are conditioned to believe that anything other than pleasure is a threat to happiness, that happiness is an all or nothing condition. The central question in Happiness is this: Can you know happiness if you have never known unhappiness? AV: Do you think being in love is a contingency of happiness? What can we do to make ourselves happy, since it seems happiness is a fleeting thing for so many? AF: Are you asking whether you have to be happy to be in love? I think happiness remains elusive when it becomes a goal in itself.

The more you chase it, the more elusive it is likely to come. The happiest people I have ever met are those who have committed themselves to an endeavor that goes beyond the self.