Originally published in Paris in 1941, this novel, delightful to hold in the hands, is an amusing and rather tragic story of 37-year-old Pierre Niox, a dealer in antiquities who lives life at a frantic pace and known by his friends for holding the record time of two minutes 28 seconds for shaving himself.

His trying to constantly save time irritates everyone; there is no joy even in enjoying a meal with Pierre for he has almost eaten it before anyone else has started and then wants to move on.

Gradually they leave him to his selfish habits. When he makes an acquisition of a house he meets Hedwig and falls in love with her, a calm, serene woman who shows him what life should really be like if only he could stop rushing around. They marry, but will they ever be able to truly mould their lives together?

This novel is a joy to read and has been superbly translated for the first time in English. Euan Cameron brings out the true flavour of French literature. It is an unusual, witty book that is so apt for our way of life in a technological age. It will certainly make you stop and think.

Pushkin Press has produced a little gem that we can now all share.