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A quirky, fizzy, jazzy, joyful, feel-good delight!

This Is LifeDan Rhodes’ Paris  set confection, revolving around the setting of performance and conceptual art,  is sheer delight. The beautifully juggled storyline involves absolute chance, and includes nepotism, a cataclysmic cormorant, a jaded and cynical art critic, the paintings of Eugene Carriere, a brace of delightful young women, a rubber baby, a lethally thrown stone, a gun in the hands of a naif, a collection of fabulous scarves (Parisiennes ARE renowned for chic, after all) a cinema devoted to the screening of porn, and the complex relationship between Japanese tourists and love without language. And a piece of conceptual art that makes Hirst, Emin et al look tame.

Aurelie Reynard, her friend Sylvie Dupont, who combines the allure of Cleopatra, Helen, and Venus herself with an exceedingly tender heart, honesty and wit,  have an Amelie like allure, reminding the jaded, the cynical and the none of those, that joy is infectious.

This is an utterly sweet but remarkably saccharine free outing.

This is life cover

Rhodes has light-touch humour in his pen (well, no doubt his tapping electronic keyboard, or Dictaphone with software transfer to text, or something.

Eugene Carriere - The Sick Child

Eugene Carriere – The Sick Child

There is running gag fun to be had with a baby, who in the mouths of the French, seems inextricably to be called Air-bear, an uber-cool and highly glum Japanese woman devoted to her highly bad tempered uber-cool cat for whom she knits Viking helmets and the like, posting their photos onto Facebook in hope of going viral, and an living artwork involving the collection of bodily fluids and secretions. Not to mention alternative sources of energy.

Cross cat in hat Flicr, Commons

Cross cat in hat Flicr, Commons

Art – or even its imagined invention, can change lives, and be the subject and object of some darned fine jokes.

I received this as a review copy from the Amazon Vine UK programme. A real treasure Dan Rhodes credit Doro Bay 5of a gift, this!

I was particularly pleased to get this as a real copy, due to the charm and intricacy of the lovely dust-jacket and its  unfolding artwork

This Is Life Amazon UK
This Is Life Amazon USA

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