Review of Too Close to the Edge by Pascal Garnier, Emily Boyce (Translation)

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About Too Close to the Edge

Recently widowed grandmother Éliette is returning to her house in the mountains when her car breaks down. A stranger offers help and Éliette gives him a lift, glad of the company and interruption to her routine.

A tale of retirement and calm domesticity, with a hint of menace about to explode.

My Review

With each turn of the page the story becomes darker and darker. Éliette certainly blossoms from mild mannered mature woman to a stealth bad girl before our very eyes. Her quiet, lonesome life dives headfirst into sheer mayhem. Lots of humor peppering the narrative with precision timing. Secondary characters along with subplots enhance the foreboding impending events. Another prize from Garnier. The ending was fantastic. Once again translation is excellent, kudos to Emily Boyce.

About Pascal Garnierimage

Pascal Garnier, who died in March 2010, was a talented novelist, short story writer, children’s author and painter. From his home in the mountains of the Ardèche, he wrote fiction in a noir palette with a cast of characters drawn from ordinary provincial life. Though his writing is often very dark in tone, it sparkles with quirkily beautiful imagery and dry wit. Garnier’s work has been likened to the great thriller writer, Georges Simenon. Read an article by Pascal Garnier, describing his path to becoming a writer.

Published April 1st 2016 by Gallic Books (first published June 7th 2010)

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Review of The Panda Theory by Pascal Garnier, Svein Clouston (Translator)

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About The Panda Theory

Gabriel is a stranger in a small Breton town. Nobody knows where he came from or why he’s here. Yet his small acts of kindness, and exceptional cooking, quickly earn him acceptance from the locals.

His new friends grow fond of Gabriel, who seems as reserved and benign as the toy panda he wins at the funfair.

But unlike Gabriel, the fluffy toy is not haunted by his past . . .

My Review

A huge Garnier fan I found this book satisfying but the ending left me ambivalent.

Gabriel isn’t as he seems as the story unfolds. His flashbacks are startling. Each revisit of his past is darker and darker. The story is somewhat predictable but the peppering of dark humor and its noir feel compensate for the obvious. I enjoyed the character development of Gabriel, his layers carefully unfold. The secondary characters were entertaining both in personality and issues.

What was leading to the end I somewhat expected but the actual ending caught me off guard – not unsatisfied or satisfied more indifferent.

Another enjoyable piece of literary noir from the talented Pascal Garnier.

About Pascal Garnierimage

Pascal Garnier, who died in March 2010, was a talented novelist, short story writer, children’s author and painter. From his home in the mountains of the Ardèche, he wrote fiction in a noir palette with a cast of characters drawn from ordinary provincial life. Though his writing is often very dark in tone, it sparkles with quirkily beautiful imagery and dry wit. Garnier’s work has been likened to the great thriller writer, Georges Simenon. Read an article by Pascal Garnier, describing his path to becoming a writer.

Published March 26th 2012 by Gallic Books (first published February 4th 2008)

Review: How’s the Pain? by Pascal Garnier, Emily Boyce (Translator)

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About How’s the Pain?

Death is Simon’s business. And now the ageing vermin exterminator is preparing to die. But he still has one last job down on the coast and he needs a driver.

Bernard is twenty-one. He can drive and he’s never seen the sea. He can’t pass up the chance to chauffeur for Simon, whatever his mother may say.

As the unlikely pair set off on their journey, Bernard soon finds that Simon’s definition of vermin is broader than he’d expected…

Veering from the hilarious to the horrific, this offbeat story from master stylist, Pascal Garnier, is at heart an affecting study of human frailty.

My Review

More amusing than heavy noir. The adventure has a few misfires as plans derail. As with any road trip, plenty of amusing characters stumbled upon. Life changes for all parties involved including spectators. No ones life will be the same in the end.

Story has an overall balance with the scales leaning towards clever satire with a touch of gritty.

As always the translation is well done, great job by Emily Boyce.

About Pascal Garnierimage

Pascal Garnier, who died in March 2010, was a talented novelist, short story writer, children’s author and painter. From his home in the mountains of the Ardèche, he wrote fiction in a noir palette with a cast of characters drawn from ordinary provincial life. Though his writing is often very dark in tone, it sparkles with quirkily beautiful imagery and dry wit. Garnier’s work has been likened to the great thriller writer, Georges Simenon. Read an article by Pascal Garnier, describing his path to becoming a writer.

Published June 11th 2012 by Gallic Books (first published January 1st 2006)

Review: Boxes by Pascal Garnier, Melanie Florence (Translation)

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About Boxes

Brice and Emma had bought their new home in the countryside together. And then Emma disappeared. Now, as he awaits her return, Brice busies himself with DIY and walks around the village.

He gradually comes to know his new neighbours including Blanche, an enigmatic woman in white, who has lived on her own in the big house by the graveyard since the death of her father, to whom Brice bears a curious resemblance..

My Review

The language is beautiful only complimented by the stellar translation. The momentum of darkness purposefully unfolds as Brice precipices on the brink of depression to madness. You’re almost sucked into the darkness, the abyss of despair palpable. Intuition dismissed as Brice senses something isn’t quite right with Blanche. Mixed feelings regarding Blanche’s appearance, her confession came to quickly feeling untidy. No doubt her backstory was darker than I anticipated, nice touch to the overall plot and demented characterization. I enjoyed the suspense, however I felt the ending was abrupt, it left me wanting more. The journey was enjoyable more so than the destination, still well shaped.

About Pascal Garnierimage

Pascal Garnier, who died in March 2010, was a talented novelist, short story writer, children’s author and painter. From his home in the mountains of the Ardèche, he wrote fiction in a noir palette with a cast of characters drawn from ordinary provincial life. Though his writing is often very dark in tone, it sparkles with quirkily beautiful imagery and dry wit. Garnier’s work has been likened to the great thriller writer, Georges Simenon. Read an article by Pascal Garnier, describing his path to becoming a writer.