Thursday, August 26, 2010

Heartful Hector

Short, insanely cute and a worldwide sensation to boot, Francois Lelord's Hector and the Search for Happiness (Penguin, $11.20) is a modern parable for the CNN-generation. And in fact, it's perfect. Not in a Doctor Philian, Sanjay Guptian kind of way, full of go-get-'ems and why-don't-feel-your-own-powers?, but as a quaint story that truly gets at the problem of happiness in the 21st century. Here's a quick synopsis: Hector, an inquisitive and moderately happy psychiatrist living somewhere in Europe takes a sabbatical in order to travel the world in search of a recipe for happiness. Visiting friends in China, America, and Africa, he plods and prods those around him with questions until at last he molds some sort of understanding. From getting kidnapped to falling in love with a Chinese prostitute (but cutely), Hector and his trip are as remarkable as they are fun and easy to swallow. (I know it sounds dumb but seriously, just try it.)


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