Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Boxes – Pascal Garnier

Contemporary Fiction 4*s
Contemporary Fiction
4*s

I chose this book principally because this author came to my attention through Guy Savage’s fascinating blog where he has reviewed a number of this author’s books. As they sounded dark and different I was delighted when Boxes appeared on NetGalley.

From what I’ve gathered Pascal Garnier’s book Boxes was published posthumously following his death in 2010, also little birds have indicated that this probably isn’t the best example of his work, but I found plenty to enjoy, if enjoy is indeed the right word for such a grim and gloomy book.

Brice is moving to the country from the apartment he shared with his wife Emma in Lyon to the countryside, hence the title, all their lives are packed into labelled boxes ready for the removal men to arrive:

Perhaps it was an occupational hazard, but they were all reminiscent of a piece of furniture: the one called Jean-Jean, a Louis-Phillippe chest of drawers; Ludo, a Normandy wardrobe; and the tall, shifty looking one affectionately known as The Eel, a grandfather clock. This outfit of rascals with bulging muscles and smiles baring wolf-like teeth made short work of surveying the flat.

But despite the efficient way his life is hauled from Lyon to a small village there is something missing, Emma. At first Brice makes a stab at unpacking his boxes but not for long, he wants it to be right for Emma, his younger wife, a woman he isn’t entirely sure he deserves.

But women’s hearts are unfathomable and full of oddities as the bottom of their handbags.

And then we learn that she isn’t just away, she’s missing presumed dead in a terrorist attack in Egypt, while working as a journalist. Brice knows no-one in the small village although he gets adopted by a cat but his isolation from other humans aids his descent into depression, and worse, as he fails to accept the loss of his wife or to carry on with his illustration work for a children’s book. Illustrating Mabel Hirsch’s books about Sabine had been his bread and butter but Brice dislikes Mabel, Sabine and children.

The little brat, whose face he riddled with freckles for sport, was seriously taking over his life. As for her creator, he must have killed her at least a hundred times in the course of troubled dreams. He would throttle her until her big frogspawn eyes burst out of their sockets and then tear off all her jewellery. She could no longer move her poor arthritic fingers, they were so weighed down with gold and diamonds. Strings of pearls disappeared into the soft fleshy folds of her double chin. Old, ugly and nasty with it! Al that emerged from her scar of a mouth, slathered in bloodred honey, were barbed compliments which would themselves around your neck, the better to jab you in the back.

With Emma’s parents concern is spurned and it looks like Brice’s life can’t get any worse he meets Blanche, who is at best a little eccentric and constantly impresses on Brice how much he looks like her father who was also an artists. Let’s just say the story becomes even more weird!

This is a short book, easily read with wonderful language, especially considering that it is a work of translation which evokes many feelings, most of which are, admittedly at the grimmer end of the scale. I am absolutely sure I will be seeking out more of Pascal Garnier’s books as this evoked memories of the dark short stories written by the late Roald Dahl, that I loved in my teens.

I’d like to thank the publishers Gallic Books for my copy of this book in return for this honest review. Boxes was published in English in May 2015.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week In Books (September 23)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lypsyy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

I’ve not done much in the way of reading over the last week – but here we go; I am currently reading The Night Watch by Sarah Waters

The Night Watch

Check out yesterday’s post for the synopsis and a taster from this one.post

I have finished Where They Found Her by Kimberley McCreight, definitely a mystery that held my attention (my lack of reading at the moment is more down to spending time with ‘real’ people than the books not holding my attention)

Where They Found Her

Blurb

The very worst crimes are those we commit against the ones we love
Motherhood hasn’t come at all easy for Molly Anderson. But she’s finally enjoying life as mother to five-year-old Ella and as Arts reporter for the small but respectable Ridgedale Reader. That is, until a body is found in the woods adjacent to Ridgedale University’s ivy-covered campus. This is a discovery that threatens to unearth secrets long buried by the town’s most powerful residents, and brings Molly to two women who are far more deeply connected than they have ever realised.
Where They Found Her is a riveting domestic thriller which offers a searing portrait of motherhood, marriage, class distinctions and the damage wrought by betrayal. NetGalley

My review will follow shortly

Next I intend to read Boxes by Pascal Garnier

Boxes

Blurb

He was the sole survivor of the natural disaster that at one time or another strikes us all, known as ‘moving house’.
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… NetGalley

What are you reading this week?

See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here

Posted in Uncategorized

Stacking The Shelves (August 29)

Stacking the shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you’re adding to your shelves, be it buying or borrowing. From ‘real’ books you’ve purchased, a book you’ve borrowed, a book you’ve been given or an e-book they can all be shared!

I have a modest list to share with my fellow bookworms this week:

Firstly from NetGalley I have a copy of The Girl With No Past by Kathryn Croft, the latest name to be signed to Bookouture, a publisher whose crime fiction hasn’t let me down yet.
The Girl With No Past

Blurb

Twenty years running from your past. Today it catches up.
Leah Mills lives a life of a fugitive – kept on the run by one terrible day from her past. It is a lonely life, without a social life or friends until – longing for a connection – she meets Julian. For the first time she dares to believe she can live a normal life.
Then, on the twentieth anniversary of that day, she receives a card. Someone knows the truth about what happened. Someone who won’t stop until they’ve destroyed the life Leah has created.
But is Leah all she seems? Or does she deserve everything she gets?
Everyone has secrets. But some are deadly

I also have a copy of Boxes by Pascal Garnier which I chose after reading a review by fellow blogger Guy Savage of His Futile Preoccupations of another book by this author, The Islanders and put him on my to-read list.

Boxes

Blurb

He was the sole survivor of the natural disaster that at one time or another strikes us all, known as ‘moving house’.
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… NetGalley

From Amazon Vine I have another psychological thriller, also unsurprisingly and annoyingly with the tag line Gone Girl Meets The Girl on the Train, called Little Girl Gone by Alexandra Burt

Little Girl Gone

Blurb

A baby goes missing. But does her mother want her back?
When Estelle’s baby daughter is taken from her cot, she doesn’t report her missing. Days later, Estelle is found in a wrecked car, with a wound to her head and no memory.
Estelle knows she holds the key to what happened that night – but what she doesn’t know is whether she was responsible… Amazon

Lastly I purchased a book based upon a recommendation to one of my trusted book advisors, Margot Kinsberg of Confessions of a Mystery Novelist who featured What Was Lost by Catherine O’Flynn in one of her informative blog posts; Pushing The Town Away

What Was Lost

Blurb

The 1980s: Ten-year-old Kate Meaney – with her ‘Top Secret’ notebook and Mickey her toy monkey – is busy being a junior detective. She observes goings-on and follows ‘suspects’ at the newly opened Green Oaks shopping centre and in her street, where she is friends with the newsagent’s son, Adrian. But when this curious, independent-spirited young girl disappears, Adrian falls under suspicion and is hounded out of his home by the press.
Then, in 2004, Lisa is working as a deputy manager at Your Music, a cut-price record store. Every day, under the watchful eye of the CCTV, she tears her hair out at the behaviour of her customers and colleagues. But when she meets security guard Kurt, she becomes entranced by the little girl he keeps glimpsing on the centre’s CCTV. As their after-hours friendship intensifies, they investigate how these sightings might be connected to the unsettling history of Green Oaks. Amazon

Any of these take your fancy or perhaps you’ve already read them?
What have you found to read this week? Please do share in the comments below