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Publishers WeeklyA smarmy follow-up to Lelord's first effort finds the placid French psychiatrist Hector enlisted in a pharmaceutical experiment that leaves him with romantic troubles of his own. Listening to his unhappy patients, Hector observes that "love, it seemed, was an endless source of suffering," bons mots he has experienced with his own girlfriend, Clara, a salesperson at a big pharmaceutical company. While accompanying Clara on her company retreat, Hector is persuaded by Gunther, the conniving company head, into tracking down a rogue American professor of Happiness Studies who has vanished into an unnamed Asian country with a new drug that allows people to fall in love with whomever they want and, moreover, stay in love. Just as Clara is taking up an affair with her boss, Hector sets out in search of the professor, who drops him notes and delivers some of the love potion by a comely messenger, Vayla. Hector and Vayla fall irretrievably in love, though are unable to speak to each other. Ever aware of the economic inequities between him and those he encounters, Hector exhibits nonetheless some conflicted feelings regarding the beauty and youth of the Asian women-and lovely Vayla's slavish obedience to his every whim. Lelord's saccharine tale delineates a universal, palatable message about attachment and need, self-interest and freedom.
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