Publisher Gallimard
Publication Date 04 January 2024

Literature and Fiction



In La Vie Heureuse, David Foenkinos tells the story of the tribulations of Éric, a forty-year-old, divorced Decathlon employee, who feels unfulfilled. During a trip to South Korea he discovers a strange ritual: simulating your own funeral–a widespread practice in that country and an experience that will change his life.

"Never has any era been so marked by people’s desire to change their lives. We all, at some point, want to be someone else," writes David Foenkinos in his latest novel.
Éric, driven by this desire, and accompanied by Amélie, a friend from his high school days who has just resurfaced, will participate in this astonishing ceremony orchestrated by the Happy Life agency. He will have to write his epitaph, choose his funeral photo and lie in his own coffin–with the lid closed–in order to come to terms with what really matters to him. 
"It's a sort of shock therapy that makes you take stock of your relationship with life. It is, in a way, a cure for depression," explains the author who was seriously ill at the age of 16 and had a near death experience which steered him "towards a taste for literature and beauty". "I am obsessed by this subject because I know how much being fragile or an encounter with death can change you or at the very least unlock your sensibilities."
In La Vie Heureuse, David Foenkinos, known for his novels La Délicatesse and Charlotte, puts our age and the very meaning of our existence into question. His new novel has once again touched his readers' hearts and has immediately become a bestseller in France, selling more than 150,000 copies in just a few months. Foreign language rights have been sold for German, English, Arabic, Spanish, Italian and Romanian.
Katja Petrovic
July 2024