Time to meet another participant of my blog series “The favourite book of”: Suzanne G.! She’s a journalist and blogger that writes all kinds of stories. On her blog “Ongewone weken” (which translates to “Unusual weeks”), she writes (in Dutch) about unusual experiences and moments. Be sure to check it out!
And the favourite book is…
My very first question was already not the easiest one: “What is your favourite book?” She had a hard time choosing between her current favourite Fierce Fairytales by Nikita Gill or better yet The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, which she calls a must-read. It’s a real pageturner, characters come to life like never before and the magic is of the Harry Potter level – though she might even prefer this one, secretly of course.
And yet, she didn’t choose either as her favourite book. The winner is: The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir who Got Trapped in an IKEA Wardrobe by Romain Puértolas. As the title suggests, it’s a very sympathetic, funny and super creative story with a high dose of adventure. It subtly touches on several contemporary themes and it makes you think. That’s why this literary novel is Suzanne’s favourite book!
A short summary
Suzanne’s favourite book is about the adventure of an Indian fakir called Ajatashatru Lavash Patel, who is actually more like a con man. One day, his bed of nails gives way and he heads to IKEA to acquire their latest model: Hertsyörbåk. But he stays until after closing and hides in a cupboard which is then packed and shipped to England. He bounces from England to Spain, France, Italy and Libya, with the help of a group of Sudanese, a Parisian beauty and a mad taxi driver for extra excitement.
About the author
I have to admit I’ve never heard of Romain Puértolas, which makes some sense since this is his first book, released in 2014 as Suzanne tells me. That really impressed her, for his first book to be this good. And it gets even more impressive as Puértolas wrote this entire book on his smartphone while working with the French border police. The author has worked in many different countries, as a magician, pilot, cleaner and more. So the author’s story is just as lovable as that of his main character – a definite check in Suzanne’s book. It shows that anyone can publish an international bestseller and it gives hope to young people like Suzanne, who dream of seeing their own book in bookstores someday.
Why this book?
Every single character is great in its own way. They are all imperfect, but Puértolas writes in such a good way that it comes across as amusing. Suzanne says she could have chosen a book she’s professionally interested in as her favourite book, or something more psychological. But as the blogger behind “Ongewone weken“, she is passionate about the unusual and amusing stories. She loves the funny, recognisable anecdotes and details. And she finds the double entendres – like the bed of nails being called ‘Hertsyörbåk’ (sound it out and you’ll understand) – positively genius. Most of all, this is a good story that is exciting until the last page. “The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir who Got Trapped in an IKEA Wardrobe” has made her snicker and smile plenty. It’s the perfect novel for on your travels!
Bonus tip: check out the 2018 movie adaptation!
If you could meet the author?
If Suzanne could meet with the author of her favourite book, she would ask Romain all about his writing process. How did he go about writing an entire book on his smartphone? Because to her, it seems horrible to write a book at work – she is constantly getting interrupted. That’s why she thinks that Puértolas is an expert in getting back into things after interruptions. She would love to hear his tips on that. And if he were to ever organise a workshop about ‘creating characters’, she would jump at the chance.
If you are looking for some more adventure, check out Suzanne’s blog!
And if you feel like sharing your favourite book with me, get in touch!