Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Moon in a Dead Eye – Pascal Garnier

Contemporary Fiction 5*s
Contemporary Fiction
5*s

If you like your humour dark and fuelled by a savage turn of phrase, this short book will most likely suit your needs perfectly.

In this short novel Pascal Garnier turns his attentions to the elderly and those who are acquainted with his style realise that nothing good can come of Martial and Odette Sudre move to a gated retirement village.
Odette is keen on the idea of living a life-like being on holiday each day of the year whereas Martial is a little more circumspect

All those years spent doggedly accumulating a thousand little habits from which to spin a cosy cocoon of existence on first-name terms with the newsagent, butcher and baker, going to the market on Saturday morning and taking the Sunday stroll up to Mont Valerien… Then one by one, their neighbours had retired to the Loire valley, Brittany, Cannnes… or the cemetery.

But as Odette becomes seduced by talk of a clubhouse and a pool the pair move in. The pair were the first of the residents to move into the village and the winter months was a bit of a lonely one as well as a time to acclimatise.

For the moment, it was closed, and they had not yet met nor even caught sight of the social secretary. Not that Martial was overly concerned. In fact, he was somewhat dreading the opening of the clubhouse. He had no desire to take part in pancake-tossing competitions with people he did not know.

I liked Martial!

After a long winter with Odette buying items for the new house and cooking culinary surprises they are keen to form a welcoming committee when a new couple move in; Maxime and Marlene Node, finally instead of imagining the new neighbours they could meet them for real! Perhaps mindful of the dreary winter they soon share food, drink and outings together. And then a new single woman is rumoured to be moving into the complex and Maxime for one is keen to impress.

Maxime was striking toreador poses. Chest puffed out, belly sucked in, fists clenched beside his hips, he held his breath for long enough to tell himself he still looked pretty good for a man his age. As his muscles relaxed, the skin sagged on his hunched skeleton like an oversized garment. He shrugged his shoulders and began to shave.

Léa moves in, and her new inquisitive neighbours show up on her doorstep as soon as the removal men left keen to see how their new neighbour would fit into the community. With savage humour Garnier exposes each of the characters for the shallow beings they are, have always been, the difference being, in real life there are distractions from yourself, in a gated community with a scarcity of people, the owners of these shallow characteristics become more aware of them, as well as being irritated by those of others.

A thoroughly enjoyable look at snobbery and aging while you can’t fail to miss the underlying suspense, the feeling that something awful is about to befall these poor misguided folk. To find out what that is, you’ll have to read the book for yourself!

I am very grateful to the publishers Gallic Books who gave me a copy of this book which I exchange for this, my honest opinion and have to praise the skill of the translator,  Emily Boyce, who made me forget that it wasn’t originally written in English.

Other Books I’ve Read by Pascal Garnier

Boxes
The A26

Author:

A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

18 thoughts on “Moon in a Dead Eye – Pascal Garnier

  1. I’ve never read Pascal Garnier, but I’ve read some great reviews by my favourite bloggers (!) which makes me think I must give him a try soon. I like the sound of the darkness in the humour and effectiveness. I like books which skewer snobbery and pretensions, like The Dinnner. Which reminds me, I want Summer House With Swimming Pool! Any advice on where to start with Garnier Cleo?

      1. They’re definitely a big hit in the blogosphere – oh no, I can feel a browse on Kindle coming on! I’ll probably put them all on my Wish List and watch the prices – although some authors never need to drop their prices; they’re so perennially popular.

  2. Lovely review, Cleo. This one remains my favourite of the Garnier novellas I’ve read to date, but I’ve to try Boxes so perhaps that will change once I do. The characterisation is right on the money here – I had a soft spot for Martial too.

  3. I’m very glad you enjoyed this one, Cleo. Garner used dark wit in several of his books, and I think that adds to the stories. And there’s definitely some keen observation about society in his work as well.

  4. Ooh, I was going to wait a while before reading this, but I’m so tempted now… great review! And I’m kinda glad to hear this one sounds a bit more humorous than The A26, which was pretty grim. I wish more authors would write novella-length – not just ‘cos they’re shorter, but somehow they’re more concentrated too. Bigger punch!

  5. I’ve heard many say this is their favourite Garnier, so I’ve finally got my hands on it and am saving it for a nice read (my favourite to date has been How’s the Pain?).

  6. I really like this book. I thought Martial was great too.

    In French, men acting like Maxime in that last quote are called “vieux beaux” (old beaus) You know, they think they are still sexy and act in a ridiculous way because they’re convinced they’re a catch.

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