The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley


I listened to this one after I recommended a friend read Clare Pooley’s Iona Iverson’s Rules for Commuting and discovered this one was available through our library. It’s been a fine audiobook for me.

An elderly eccentric artist in London named Julian writes about himself in a notebook and leaves it in a cafe, inviting others to write about themselves and to get to know their neighbors. Monica, the cafe owner finds it next and writes about herself, revealing her desire to be married and have children. The notebook is found by a hard-living man named Hazard who makes lots of money in The City which he uses for drugs and alcohol. Just at that time he realizes he must change his trajectory and takes off for a remote island with the notebook. The notebook returns some months later, and the notebook and other events set in motion changes for a growing group of folks.

Julian begins giving art lessons in the cafe, an easy-going traveling Australian takes an interest in Monica, a new mother social media influencer bumps into the group, and Hazard comes back to town. The group takes a day trip to Paris, a figgy pudding is thrown in anger, Hazard falls off the wagon at a wedding, and all the while you know things will work out, whatever plot devices are required.

Clare Pooley, The Authenticity Project, Viking, 2020, 357 pages. (I listened to the audiobook). Available in the public library.

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