Monday, May 03, 2010

Hector and the Search for Happiness

I've just finished Hector and the Search for Happiness by Francois Lelord, tr. Lorenzo Garcia recently published by Gallic Books. It's not a crime novel but tells the story of Hector, a psychiatrist who sees a lot of patients who are unhappy for no medical reason. So when he goes on holiday he decides to make it a working one and discover what makes people happy or unhappy. His journey takes him from China to Africa, to the country of 'More' (US?) and back again. Told in a deceptively simple style, with self-knowing references this is an amusing and thought-provoking short tale. I did wonder what Hector would have made of Mma Ramotswe if they'd met!

You can read the first chapter at Hector's Journeys.

Having worked in local government all my working life, I was particularly amused by this passage about a management style that was fashionable a while back:

"Hector didn't really see why she [Clara] had two bosses at the same time, but Clara explained that it was because of something called 'matrix management'. Hector thought that this sounded like an expression invented by psychiatrists, and so he wasn't surprised that it created complicated situations and drove people a bit crazy."

1 comment:

Bernadette in Australia said...

LOL Karen. I've spent a good deal of my working life in either local or state government and I can identify with that too.