Book review: The Best Thing That Can Happen to a Croissant by Pablo Tusset
March 15, 2015 10 Comments
From the publishers: “An easy-riding, ball-busting comedy of bad manners, this is one of the most surprising and entertaining literary debuts of recent years.
Pablo Baloo Miralles, a fat, useless and flatulent thirty-year-old, is the black sheep of his obscenely wealthy family. While he dedicates his days to online philosophy chatrooms and his nights to whatever pleasures he can find, his brother, ‘The First,’ is president of his booming family business.
But, when ‘The First’ suddenly disappears, Pablo finds himself being sucked into a hair-raising, mind-bending adventure – an adventure in which he must use all of his well-honed survival instincts to come out alive.”
The Best Thing That Can Happen to a Croissant: What I thought
As you probably can imagine, I bought this book solely because of the title. It turns out, the title is simply chosen because these are the first few words of the first chapter. That’s it. Croissants do feature every now and then, but their role is minimal. However, this book does end very weirdly. So in that sense it deserves a title like this.
The protagonist is 30-something Pablo, who lives off his parents’ money and spends most of his time getting drunk and using drugs. When his brother disappears, he uses his well-trained lying skills to keep his parents unaware of the situation. Of course, his lies get bigger and bigger and he has a different story for each person, then convinces them not to tell “the truth” to the others. Meanwhile he starts to investigate what could have happened to his brother.
He is not the most pleasant character but somehow I was happy to tag along with him to try and find his brother. When the PI he hires is found dead after a car chase, he knows it’s serious stuff and becomes determined to get to the bottom of the case. He even drinks less!
The ending is rather surrealistic, in the sense that it could happen, but it never would. But that’s fine, as it is, in some sense, the best possible outcome for Pablo.
A fun and fast read. I didn’t like Pablo too much, but that didn’t hinder my enjoyment. I especially liked that Pablo ended up being involved with exactly those people he before had been avoiding as much as he could: his parents, his sister-in-law, etc.
An enjoyable suspense novel with a twist.
I read this book as part of the Let’s Get Spanish! month, organised by Soraya Schrijft.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (good)
Number of pages: 360
First published: 2001
I got this: bought it
Genre: Contemporary fiction