Pascal Garnier, Moon in a Dead Eye, translated from the French by Emily Boyce (London: Gallic Books, 2013 ) 4 stars
Opening line: Martial compared the photo on the cover of the brochure with the view from the window.
Pascal Garnier, who died in 2010, was a prolific French author who worked in a number of genres, including crime. Gallic Books have thus far published four of his works in translation, with more due in 2014.
To date, I’ve sampled two of Garnier’s novels – or more accurately novellas of modest length – and have very much enjoyed the sharp observational powers deployed in each. Moon in a Dead Eye is set in a posh French retirement village: a gated community whose inhabitants are attracted by its 24/7 security and the promise that they will be protected from nasty ‘foreign’ elements. But perhaps Martial, Odette, Maxime, Marlene and Lea should be worrying less about the threat from without than the threat from within? To all those fantasising about a retirement in the South of France, I can only say: be careful what you wish for…
In common with Garnier’s earlier novel A26, which I would also highly recommend, Moon in a Dead Eye digs beneath the apparent respectability of provincial life to reveal the violence lurking beneath. This violence is often male, erupting from unexpected sources following a series of interlinked events. Although the stories they tell are undeniably bleak, both books are leavened with a biting satirical humour (reminiscent of Patricia Highsmith or the German author Ingrid Noll), and are beautifully and precisely written.
I’m looking forward to reading the other two (superbly titled) Garnier novels already available – The Panda Theory and How’s the Pain? Together with A26 and The Moon in a Dead Eye, they’ll make a stylishly grim quartet on my bookshelf.
Mrs. Peabody awards Moon in a Dead Eye a beautifully-observed and rather wicked 4 stars.
With thanks to Gallic Books for sending me an advance copy of this book.
This sounds good, another one for the reading list! Just finished reading Alex by Pierre Maitre, not quite sure what I think of it to be honest, have you read it? did you like it? I think it’s been a bit over-hyped.
I haven’t yet read Alex, Blighty, although I keep meaning to do so, having heard lots of people (including various crime authors) recommending it at Bristol. All did also say that the opening was a tough read: the advice was to soldier on for later rewards. Am properly intrigued now…
The Panda Theory and How’s the Pain were my favourite books of 2012, they are funnier and even more observant than The A26. I haven’t read Moon in a Dead Eye, but I am officially a Pascal Garnier fan.
Great – thanks for recommending – will have to read those soon. They are such nice bite-size reads as well.
I wonder whether the four could actually form a proper little quartet. I did notice quite a few recurring themes in the two I’ve read and will be interested to see if these are also taken up in the other two.
Mrs. P – A lovely post on a fine author who is sorely missed. I must dig more deeply into his work than I have.
Thanks, Margot. Marina Sofia’s comment has whetted my appetite for the remaining two as well.
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