Writter: Gregoire Delacourt
Genre: General Fiction
Are all rich men in the world happy? Can money be the tool to distinguish happiness from misery? If you have some ultimate question about the relationship between money and happiness, the French novel The List of My Desires (La Liste de Mes Envies), may have the answer.
This novel focuses on one couple’s life. They win ?18,000,000 (about 22,000,000,000 won) from the lottery and become rich over night. Jo and Jocelyne are a married couple living in Arras, a small town in the north of France, and have shared their fates for 21 years. The husband Jo has worked at Haagen Dazs since 1990, and his wife Jocelyne manages her small handicraft store. Although they have some trouble communicating with their offspring and their income is not very much, their marriage is generally harmonious. However, after Jocelyne buys a lottery ticket at the recommendation of twin sisters who run a beauty salon in town, and wins a huge sum of money because of it, their relationship falls apart. Jocelyne doesn’t tell him about the money, but Jo finds out and runs away with all of her money.
The lives of Jo and Jocelyne have friction because their values are different. Jocelyne thinks it’s much more important to have an ordinary, happy life with her husband, but Jo thinks about the huge amount of money, which he can only earn if he works 600 years at Haagen Dazs. It’s very ironic that Jocelyne accepts her bad situation and makes some plans for a new life, but Jo can’t enjoy spending the money and eventually becomes mentally exhausted. Jo later regrets his betrayal and wants to apologize to his wife, but it’s too late. He can’t solve the problem no matter how much money he has. Readers can think about happiness that is based on only money and where they put their values. What things in our lives are more important than luxury watches, sport cars and tailored suits?
The author said he wanted to talk about the dangerous aspect of “achieving one’s dream” and warns readers through an interview. You can find solutions for serious questions about money and happiness through author Gregoire Delacourt’s short and simple style of writing. In the book, almost every sentence is no longer than one line. Characters also don’t speak long utterances. Because of these things, it is an easy book to read.
This book is in the process of being made into a film, so we can experience it at a theater soon. How about taking the opportunity to make your own list of desires that can only be achieved with your effort and passion?