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Found 8 results

  1. Older Brother is an interesting study of what it is to be a Muslim in modern day France. The two brothers have Syrian heritage but moved to France many years before the current Syrian conflict. Their father is an atheist communist, and they have French Breton ancestry on their mother's side. So in fact, the two brothers are only Muslim through people's assumptions rather than their own upbringing. However, this is enough to create a distance between them and their French neighbours. The older brother drives for Uber. His father has invested his pension fund into an off
  2. Review of History of Violence by Edouard Louis, translated by Lorin Stein The follow on to the autobiographical novel of The End of Eddy and Eddy is now living in Paris and heading to his apartment after a Christmas Eve meet with friends for Dinner. He is stopped in the street by a stranger and while Eddy tries to get away, eventually they both go back to hi with the night ending in Reda raping, assaulting and trying to murder Eddy. The novel deals with the event and aftermath, told through both Eddy's point of view and from listening to his sister tell her husband abo
  3. Review of The Bear and the Paving Stone by Toshiyuku Horie, translated by Geraint Howells This short story collection has three stories in it. In the first, the title story, a man visits his friend from Petanque in Western France and has a weird dream involving the footpath becoming bears. Further to this, both recollecting of the past and looking at the present where the narrator gets to know the friend's neighbour and her blind son. The friend is Jewish and there is remembrance to events of World War 2 in the novel. The second story is about the narrator joining a woman on a beac
  4. Review of The End of Eddy by Edouard Louis, translated by Michael Lucey This is a novel based on Louis' own upbringing, growing up in the 1990s in northern France (a small village in the Picardy region). To this life, Eddy is born as his father's first and mother's third child (her first husband died from cirrhosis of the liver). His father also seems to be going to go that way, with an alcohol problem mixed with a fighting problem. His father's alcohol fuelled rages often descending into tirades against homosexuality. Eddy as a boy is effeminate and this causes difficu
  5. How's The Pain is an odd little French novella. It opens with a death, and then we spend the rest of the piece trying to work out how we got there. Broadly, the novella features Simon Marechall, who works in pest control, hiring Bernard, the indolent son of Anais - a woman who pretends to run a shop to mask her own inactivity - to drive him to and from one last job. On the way they meet various people and discover more about each other. There is an air of menace throughout and one fears for Bernard. Bernard is intriguing; optimistic, very selective in the application of his moral scruples
  6. Having been impressed by this author's 'Alex' (existing thread) I was keen to read his earlier police procedural. The description of the first crime scene is certainly not for the squeamish. Any of you who are fans of American noir thriller-writing might cotton on earlier than others what is going on here. Commandant Camille Verhoeven starts to cotton on himself. It is not quite as absorbing or tightly written as 'Alex' but nevertheless clever. An excellent translation as well.
  7. This is a bleak little novella. We visit a new gated retirement village sold on promises and goodwill. Alas, the five residents (two couples and a single lady) don't really like each other. Nor do they like M. Flesh, the caretaker. Their dislike is reciprocated. In a Ballard-esque way, the retirees gradually break down and their humanity disintegrates. Fans of High Rise and Concrete Island will enjoy Moon in a Dead Eye. There is an inevitability to it all - you aren't reading Pascal Garnier for a love story - but it is intriguing to work pout exactly how it will all unravel. The characters ar
  8. First off: don't read Tom McCarthy's introduction - it gives away the whole thing. So, Swimming Home is a very short novel that starts with an intriguing two page snippet featuring a man who has been unfaithful He just wants to get back home to his family. Most of the rest of the novel is a dissection of how that situation arose. The situation turns out to be a famous poet, Jozef Jacobs, on holiday with his wife and daughter and two family friends in the Alpes Maritime in France, mid 1994. Their holiday gets off to an unusual start as they find a stranger at their holiday villa. They welc
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