This is a story of a man, Lou Suffern, who sacrifices his family for his career. He misses family reunions for business dinners, he is always hooked on his BlackBerry and when he spends time with his wife and family, he is always distracted, and, mentally, somewhere else. On a cold winter morning before Christmas, Lou is on his way to work when he encounters Gabe, a homeless street dweller, sitting outside an office building. Lou is intrigued by him, and contrives to get him a job in the post room. Gabe’s presence begins to grate on Lou, particularly when he discovers that the latter seems capable of being in two places at the same time.
What I loved:
- The so accurate description of marriage degradation and couples fight when the wife is about to collapse under housework and taking care of the kids and the husband is totally distracted by his work. How they are no longer able to have a full conversation, her stressed out and controlled by her maternal instincts, and him distracted, barely noticing what’s happening around.
- The great description of office rivalry where two friends are competing for the same position and where there is no longer room for friendship.
- The shoe watcher chapter. I never thought that you can get so much information by just watching the shoes of people walking in and out of buildings and how much a shoe can hold details that are directly linked to the personality of the person wearing them.
“Brown loafers. You know him – a pretentious walk. The little suede tassels kick with every step, like a mini can-can, it’s like he throws them up there purposely.”
I can’t promise that this is a book that works for everyone. The story might be predictable but it contains some surprising twists. This is a book that I really enjoyed reading. The descriptions of places, people, thoughts and feelings are so perfect that the book almost becomes real and there is a very nice message at the end which could be a very good reminder to each of us. This book can be a nice gift for Christmas but can be obviously read any time of the year.