Published by Pushkin Press
Translated from Spanish by Anne McLean

It’s one of the most frequent topics for discussion at book group: Can a man write a convincingly from a women’s point-of-view?  Well, let’s take that to a whole new level: can a man offer convincing advice to a melancholy woman?  Is any woman going to accept a man’s wisdom?  Hhhm, thorny subject.

In this unorthodox book offering short pieces of philosophical advice (with the occasional recipe) to deal with the joys and sorrows that life sends our way, Hector Abad successfully manoeuvers round those thorns by employing lots of (very attractive) humour. Sometimes the humour is dry: dinosaur steak is guaranteed to cure sadness by inducing an immediate fit of the giggles.  Sometimes it is dubious: using scripture to defend adultery. Now and again an indisputable but previously unrecognised truth suddenly shines out brightly. Ever been heartbroken?

Because there is an inescapable rule, which now that you hear it will make you even sadder – with the passing of time you will no longer suffer so; …. Even him, yes, him, you’ll eventually forget.  Sorrow as you must and whatever happens – if after thirty-six months you are still suffering as you are now, you’ll not be suffering for him, you’ll be suffering for your guilt at not still suffering.  Even if the love you felt was boundless, pain is miserly, it doesn’t last as long.

Now ladies, I would love your comments on Abad’s advice on how to find the best harmony in a relationship.  This is achieved by sharing the kitchen and teaching your partner to cook. The day will come says Abad when you’re going to see him reading a recipe and finally giving you a surprise.  He must mean a heart-attack.  Has he seen the state of the kitchen and the mountains of washing-up that remain when hubby has been sous-cheffing?

I read this book with a smile on a face.  A cynical smile at first. Then I found myself being vastly entertained. Of course, some of these snippets of wisdom are to be taken with a liberal pinch of salt.  Others rang true and then, quite unexpectedly I found a couple which gave me a more positive outlook on certain aspects of my own life.  Let’s just call that the icing on the cake.

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