Thursday, 15 August 2019

C’est La Vie - Pascal Garnier

This slender little volume is a fine example of the perfect novella. It’s an undemanding, quick read - I read it on a train journey - yet immensely satisfying. Kudos to the translator who has allowed none of Garnier’s subversive wit to go astray in the translation. I laughed out loud at one point much to the amusement of my fellow travellers!

There’s something almost surreal about the programme of events covered in this book. The narrator, Jeff Colombier, his son Damien and a diverse cast of characters are let loose within the pages of this book. Part of the action takes place in Lille, a city with which I am familiar, and it reminded me of the film In Bruges, another location familiar  to me, for the atmosphere and dynamic created. 

For such a slim volume a great deal happens! Some might see Colombier as going through a mid life crisis when his taste of success at age 50 sends him spiralling into a confused path of skewed hedonism. It’s a combination of irony and some ‘ouch’ moments but everything works so well within the structure of the book. 

It’s one of those clever stories where the reader is allowed to perceive what the narrator doesn’t appear to and it’s a device that’s guaranteed to lure the reader in. The characters are unique, for example,  ‘Monsieur Billot, barrister and thalidomide victim’, and whilst sometimes you wonder whether they are part of some drug crazed hallucinatory trip they certainly remain in your mind. 

It’s irreverent maybe, with some choice images, ‘The trigger trembled under my finger like a clitoris.’ but that’s what makes it such an entertaining read. This is my first taste of Garnier, but, oh, I want more!!

Thank you Isabelle at Gallic Books for an advanced reading copy. This book publishes on August 15th 2019.

No comments:

Post a Comment