Thursday, 15 September 2016

The Eskimo Solution by Pascal Garnier

The Eskimo Solution by Pascal Garnier
First published as La Solution Esquimau in French in France by Zulma in 2006. English translation by Emily Boyce and Jane Aitken published by Gallic Books in September 2016.

Where to buy this book:
Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
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How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'A crime writer uses the modest advance on his latest novel to rent a house on the Normandy coast. There should be little to distract him from his work besides walks on the windswept beach, but as he begins to tell the tale of forty-something Louis – who, after dispatching his own mother, goes on to relieve others of their burdensome elderly relations – events in his own life begin to overlap with the work of his imagination.'

Pascal Garnier is one of my favourite French authors so I was delighted when Gallic Books contacted me to offer a copy of his newest work in translation. I don't think The Eskimo Solution has quite the power of (in my opinion) his best novel, The Panda Theory, but it is still an atmospheric piece of noir storytelling that I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

We begin by meeting Louis the fictional character in Paris where he is musing on his plot to solve his financial problems by murdering his mother and prematurely receiving his inheritance. On the turn of a paragraph, we then switch to the real world of Louis the crime writer, the beginnings of whose novel we have just been reading. It sounds confusing, but I found the different writing styles made it easy to tell whose reality I was in and I liked the parallels of the two storylines. Of course, once the storylines begin to blur it is less easy to tell the real from the fiction and that is where Garnier's talent for darkness kicks in.

I did have to imagine part of The Eskimo Solution several decades further back in time than it is actually set in order for me to believe that Louis-the-fictional could get away with his Great Plan. There's obviously no forensic science in his reality! Garnier's coastal Normandy setting is brilliantly evoked though enabling me to envisage exactly where Louis-the-writer was living. It was fun to think that Dave and I could have been the English couple at Ouistreham! I would happily recommend The Eskimo Solution to fans of vintage crime novels and French noir.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Pascal Garnier / Crime fiction / Books from France

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