First published by Zulma in French in France in 2009. English language translation by Emily Boyce published by Gallic Books in July 2013.
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Buy the ebook from Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk
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How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publishers via NetGalley.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Given the choice, Martial would not have moved to Les Conviviales. But Odette loved the idea of a brand-new retirement village in the south of France. So that was that. At first it feels like a terrible mistake: they're the only residents and it's raining non-stop. Then three neighbours arrive, the sun comes out, and life becomes far more interesting and agreeable. Until, that is, some gypsies set up camp just outside their gated community.
My first Pascal Garnier novel, The Panda Theory, was absolutely brilliant and I hoped for a similarly wonderful read again. Moon In A Dead Eye starts out well. Retired couple Martial and Odette have given up their suburban Parisian home for a newly-built house in a retirement complex in the sunny south of France. They are looking forward to making new friends through the promised social activities and lazing by the pool. Except the pool hasn't been filled yet, no one else has arrived and the rain is constant. Garnier sets up this scenario perfectly and his practically empty complex reminded me of the estate of unsold houses in The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan.
Eventually more people do move in - another couple and a single woman. Garnier understands his characters well and I enjoyed reading their interactions. Social club organiser Nadine is fun and there is definitely something a bit weird about the caretaker! For me, Moon In A Dead Eye was great up until this point. Then, when gypsies parking up nearby causes increased worry and paranoia amongst the residents, I thought that too many events happened too swiftly with the result being unbelievable and farcical. Perhaps a slower reveal in a longer book would be more convincing, or a stage adaptation as a real farce, but within the confines of this novella I thought it all too over the top.
Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Pascal Garnier / Crime fiction / Books from France