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The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir who got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe (Anglais) Relié – 31 juillet 2014

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A fakir by trade, Ajatashatru Oghash (pronounced A­jar­of­rat­stew­oh­gosh!) had decided to travel incognito for his first trip to Europe. For this occasion, he had swapped his “uniform,” which consisted of a loincloth shaped like an enormous diaper, for a shiny gray suit and a tie rented for peanuts from Dilawar (pronounced Die, lawyer!), an old man from the village who had, during his youth, been a representative for a famous brand of shampoo, and who still had an impressive head of (graying) hair.
In choosing this disguise, which he was to wear for both days of his trip, the fakir had secretly wished to be taken for a wealthy Indian industrialist—so much so that he had forsaken wearing comfortable clothes (i.e., a tracksuit and sandals) for the three-hour bus journey and a flight lasting eight hours and fifteen minutes. After all, pretending to be something he was not was his job: he was a fakir. He had kept only his turban, for religious reasons. Beneath it, his hair kept growing and growing. It was now, he estimated, about sixteen inches long, with a total population of thirty thousand (mostly germs and fleas).
Getting into the taxi that day, Ajatashatru (pronounced A­cat­in­a­bat­suit) had immediately noticed that his peculiar get-up had produced the desired effect on the European, in spite of the tie, which neither he nor his cousin knew how to knot correctly, even after the perfectly clear but somewhat shaky explanations of Dilawar, who had Parkinson’s. But obviously this was a minor detail, as it had gone unnoticed amid the overwhelming elegance of his attire.
A glance in the rearview mirror not being enough to contemplate such handsomeness, the Frenchman had actually turned around in his seat in order to better admire Ajatashatru, making the bones in his neck crack as he did so, as if he were preparing for an act of contortionism.
“Lequel? Er . . . what Ikea?” the driver had
stammered, apparently as comfortable speaking English as a (holy) cow on ice skates.
“Just Ikea. Doesn’t matter. The one that best suits you. You’re the Parisian.”
Smiling, the driver had rubbed his hands before starting the engine.
The Frenchman has taken the bait, thought Ajatashatru (pronounced A­jackal­that­ate­you) with satisfaction. This new look was proving ideal for his mission. With a little luck, and if he didn’t have to open his mouth too much, he might even pass for a native.
Ajatashatru was famous throughout Rajasthan for swallowing retractable swords, eating broken glass made from zero-calorie sugar, stabbing his arms with fake needles, and a heap of other conjuring tricks, the secrets of which were known only to him and his cousins, and which he was happy to label magical powers in order to bewitch the masses.
So, when the time came to pay the bill for the taxi ride, which amounted to €98.45, our fakir handed over the only money he had for his entire trip—a counterfeit €100 note printed on just one side—while nonchalantly gesturing to the driver that he could keep the change.
Just as the driver was sliding the note into his wallet, Ajatashatru created a diversion by pointing at the huge yellow letters that proudly spelled out I­K­E­A above the blue building. The gypsy looked up long enough for the fakir to pull nimbly on the invisible elastic that connected his little finger to the €100 note. A tenth of a second later, the money had returned to its original owner.
“Oh, I almost forgot,” said the driver, believing the note to be nestled safely within his wallet. “Let me give you my firm’s card. In case you need a taxi for the way back. We have vans as well, if you need. Believe me, even in flatpack form, furniture takes up a lot of space.”
Gustave never knew if the Indian had under- stood any of what he had just told him. Rummaging in the glove compartment, he pulled out a laminated business card emblazoned with a flamenco dancer and handed it to him.

“Merci,” said the foreigner.

When the red Mercedes of Gypsy Taxis had disappeared—although the fakir, who was only used to making small-eared Indian elephants disappear, could not claim to be responsible—Ajatashatru slipped the card into his pocket and contemplated the vast commercial warehouse that stretched out in front of him. --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Relié .

Revue de presse

"Full of quirky charm... Delightful" (Kate Saunders The Times)

"A madcap romantic adventure... Blessed with an energetic bonhomie that's thoroughly endearing" (Chris Hall Mail on Sunday)

"This summer's must-read novel...quirky, hilarious, elegantly-written" (Angela Levin The Telegraph)

"A laugh-out-loud funny debut novel that is as bonkers as the title suggests" (Candis Magazine)

"A genuinely funny novel" (Vogue)

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Amazon.com: 49 commentaires
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A Stranger in a Strange Land 12 décembre 2014
Par Miss Barbara - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
This is a quirky little tale of an Indian fakir who travels to a Paris Ikea to purchase a new bed of nails. It seems that there are no Ikeas in India so with the help of his village in purchasing his airplane ticket and a relative who printed him a One-Hundred Euro note (one sided only)he sets out on the adventure of his life. Ajatashatru is subsequently trapped in a wardrobe that is shipped (with him in it). His adventure that that started in India will take him to Paris, Great Britain, Spain, Italy, and Libya and eventually back to France.

The insurmountable pronunciations of the Indian names are jokingly renamed by the author adding to the appeal of the story. For instance the cousin of Aj (my nickname for ease of reading) is named Ghanashyam, pronounced "Gonna-show-em" and his adoptive mother, Adishree Dhou, is pronounced "A-didgeridoo". Following Aj from one country to the next clearly illustrates what it's like to be a stranger in a strange land.

The situations are totally unbelievable, the protagonist is a Fakir in every sense of the word, and the secondary characters are beguiling. I loved every word and found myself laughing more than I have while reading a book in a long time.
11 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Different but disappointing 4 décembre 2014
Par Discerning Reader - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle
The title of the book is such that you have to pick it up and read it. This is an unusual book and starts off by being very interesting. The reader wants to know what happens next and initially finds it difficult to put the book down.

Romain Puertolas has got a very interesting style, and you can feel his humour and sarcasm. For example, Marie tells Ajatashatru that a lot of his countrymen worked at the Eiffel Tower, selling Eiffel Towers, and that one of them might be one of his relatives. Ajatashatru did not understand what was meant by this, and wondered if she meant that all Indians in Paris were estate agents.
The author is also very clever in the way he gives the pronunciations of the names of characters . It is hilarious. For instance he states Ajatashatru Oghash (pronounced A –jar-of-rat-stew-oh-gosh!). Later on he gives different pronunciations. They are very funny.

However, after some time, the book loses its charm as the events are so unbelievable. Those who have read Jonas Jonasson’s The Hundred Year Old Man who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared would have also felt that what happened in that book was totally unbelievable. But the difference between Jonasson’s book and this one by Puertolas is that there is more depth in the former. In Jonasson’s book the author is very critical of a much wider range of institutions and systems. What makes this profound is that his approaches are based on a critical analysis of the institutions/systems that he is referring to. In The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an IKEA Wardrobe there are interesting insights into lives of refugees and migrants. But otherwise it is like a fairy tale of the survival and in the end the happiness of the fakir.

The book by Puertolas is good fun, if you want to have something very light and when you want to relax. But otherwise you could find it quite shallow.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Intelligent satire (with plenty of bizarre and lowbrow humor for good measure) 15 janvier 2015
Par J. Weaver - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
This is the sort of novel where almost any discussion of the plot would spoil some element of the story. Without going into too much detail, an Indian fakir (who's secretly a con man) flies to Paris using money given to him by the people of his village to purchase Ikea's latest model bed of nails, planning to secretly sell it. Things take a turn for the bizarre (well, even more bizarre) when he decides to spend the night in the store, having no money for other accommodations, and winds up trapped in an Ikea wardrobe (just like the title says!). He then finds himself in a dizzying intercontinental string of mishaps and coincidences that put those in the Star Wars prequel trilogy to shame.

The social satire is sharp, with the humor working on multiple levels, and the chain of events is so incredibly bizarre that I couldn't help but be reminded of another French novel, Voltaire's Candide. (Okay, Ramon Puertolas isn't quite on par with Voltaire, but there are definite similarities in the style of the two novels, no doubt intentional on the part of Puertolas. Perhaps "the French novel equivalent of Arrested Development" might be more appropriate.) The translation is so polished that it is easy to forget (almost impossible to remember, actually) that the story wasn't originally written in English. The wordplay that serves as a humorous sort of pronunciation guide to the various names is particularly strong when one takes into mind that this isn't the original language. (I almost wish I understood French just to be able to compare the two texts.)

TEJOTFWGOIAIW (even an acronym of the title is long!) is a relatively small book, and a quick read. But to write it off as simple disposable entertainment would be a mistake. The ending may be a little too neatly wrapped up, but that's hardly enough to hold against it. Highly recommended.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A modern French fable of sorts, but not the book for me 14 janvier 2015
Par Jojoleb - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe, by Romain Puertolas and translated by Sam Taylor, was a somewhat puzzling book to read. It is clearly a modern fable and is lightly humorous, but perhaps it caters more to European sensibilities and that's why it missed the mark for this American.

The book follows the adventures of Ajatashatru Oghash Rathod, our fakir, who is making a pilgrimage to a Paris Ikea in order to buy a new bed of nails. All of this starts off well, until he bilks a Gypsy cabbie out of his fare and now has a sworn enemy. The rest of the book follows our fakir through a series of adventures--mishaps really--that occur because he is trying to escape an angry cabbie, the police, or both. Along the way the fakir may have found true love, teams up with some African illegals who are trying to hop the border, gets deported, befriends a famous actress, and finds himself a new career.

This is the stuff of farce, as our hapless but charismatic fakir does his best Chauncey-Gardiner impression throughout Europe. I'm assuming that all this may be a hoot and a holler for EU citizens everywhere and there is probably a fair amount of social commentary that whizzed 30,000 feet above this American's head. Some of the ongoing gags, like multiple sound alikes for our protagonist's surname (e.g. A-jar-of-rat-stew-oh-gosh) or multiple trumped up names for fictional Ikea furniture were initially humorous but were repeated to the point of tedium. Ongoing jabs at various characters' ethnic backgrounds were probably meant to satirize European ethnocentrism, but sounded more like slurs to my North American tin ears. When I reached the novel-within-a-novel cliche phase, I nearly put the book down altogether.

What I was left with was a somewhat entertaining romp that was consistently amusing but not all that engaging or laugh-out-loud funny. Happily, the book was short and still readable. (Of course, when this book wins Le Prix du Livre, I'll be the first to admit that I just missed the point.)

Then again, not every novel is meant for every reader. This one might be for you, but, sadly, it wasn't all that for me.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The funniest fable I have ever read. 6 décembre 2014
Par bas bleu - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
To tell anymore of the plot of this book except what is revealed in the Amazon description would instantly make a spoiler out of this fun, wild, bizarre (in a cool way) great story. First it is just crazy funny, second it is a revelation to a man what every one of us needs to know, if we do not already know it. Life cannot be all about just me and what I want and how I can get it and hang on to it. Life; the reason we are here on this planet is to help our fellowman in need, give a helping hand, where and how we can. It's about not just thinking about some ones unfortunate situation it is about sorting through my heart and mind to come up with a way to help and to bring that help into fruition. It is about figuring out that honest dealings are the dealings that let us sleep well at night and at the end of life, knowing within oneself we have fulfilled the mission of life. There is a sad part to this story, and this is not a spoiler. The sad part is that for some people in this world it might take the kind of experiences that Ajatashatru went through to see how very wonderful life can be when lived for the purpose we are all here for. I love that Romain Puertolas chose to tell this story with humor "a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down" and in this case Mr. Puertolas buries us in the kind of sugar that lets us know, we can still laugh while we are remembering that ultimately and absolutely we are the only ones responsible for the decisions and choices we make. This debut author had an out-of-the-box style that I envy, imagination and wit that are stellar. Well traveled and well connected definitely equip Puertolas to be spot on with his observations.
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