This was a Net-galley book I received at the end of Camp Nano, and it will be published this coming Tuesday.
A children’s writer rents a house on the Normandy coast where he plans to write his first crime novel. There, away from his love life, his editor and his friends, he’ll be free to pen the story of Louis, who after killing his mother, is inspired to relieve his friends of their own burdensome elderly relatives.
But even far away from everything he knows, distractions seem to find their way to his door: from his lovable elderly neighbours, to his girlfriend’s tearaway teenage daughter. And somehow, events from his life appear to overlap with those of his imagination…
Pascal Garnier combines the style of Simenon, the insight of Camus with a wit that is all his own.
Translated from the French by Emily Boyce and Jane Aitken
I confess I’ve never read any Simenon and seem to remember not finishing the Camus I tried. This is not a problem if you pick up this novella length story by Pascal Garnier. If you like your stories off-beat you may like this too. One thing you should guard against, though, is being interrupted in the middle of it, since it’s easy to get confused. I made the mistake of taking it as my kindle-read through numerous appointments, since reading in the waiting room is an excellent therapeutic exercise.
One of the difficulties is both the protagonist and the hero of the novel he is writing are called Louis, and although the novel and the actual story are in different fonts (which helps) remembering which is which can be a challenge for those like me with the short-term memory of a woodlouse. However, I don’t think it really matters which is ‘true’ and which is fiction, since both are weird and cross-over with each other. I felt that the fiction was in a more literary style, which was clever, but I may have been reading them the wrong way round at the time. The plots are off-beat, fascinating, and strangely engrossing. It seemed to tail off at the end, and I wasn’t really satisfied with the conclusion, but I might read it again, without unscheduled interruptions, and see what I think. And in any case, it’s a lovely picture of life in France, with some sea and Impressionist art references thrown in.
If you like your crime stories gentle, mystifying and weird, try this!
A novella length story translated from the French. Somewhat surreal, and potentially confusing, but then that’s what adds to the intrigue.