The incorrigible optimists club


Michel Marini is a twelve-year-old boy who lives in Paris in the sixties. He likes to play table football, to read books and to take pictures. Once he ends up in the “Club of incorrigible optimists”, a place where refugees from the USSR and such great writers as Sartre and Kessel gather. In this club they play chess and discuss politics, defend their point of view and help each other in life.

They say that this boy, Michel, is not remarkable, which I can not agree with. He is unusually intelligent for his age, because he reads the most difficult classics in awe and understands them. He has a talent in photography and the ability to be in the right place at the right time to meet influential and authoritative personalities. Although Michelle is still a child, he tries to understand the complex system in which he is forced to live, and the reasons for some or other human actions.

The reader understands together with the little Michel Marini in politics, history and literature. What is the USSR? Why do people run from there? And why, despite of everything, they again want to be at home?

In addition to Michel’s teenage life, the book tells the stories of his acquaintances and friends from the Club. Uneasy and unique destinies, I tell you. Reading their thoughts, feelings and regrets, I wanted to close the book and take it away, but it’s impossible because the plot captures your attention with each page more and more.

Of course, for those who are not well acquainted with the culture and history of our country, the described Soviet phenomena may be surprising and even frightening. I do not dare to state the reliability of the written by Jean-Michel, but it seemed to me that the author had added some passions in some moments to give a contrast between “calm” Europe and the “wild” USSR.

Despite the hyperbolization of what is happening, in my opinion, the life of refugees is described excellent. Each of us dreamed of ever living abroad, but never imagined what difficulties can await in another country. It will not be easy, it’s unambiguous.

The work does not belong to the category of very easy to read. Any mini-chapter is not without meaning. I think it was created in order to return to it again and again.

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