Saturday, 15 June 2019

Faire Mouche by Vincent Almendros

Faire Mouche by Vincent Almendros
First published in France by Les Editions de Minuit in January 2018.

A Book in French and one of my 2019 COYER Summer Challenge reads

How I got this book:
Swapped for at the Chef Boutonne Little Library

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

À défaut de pouvoir se détériorer, mes rapports s’étaient considérablement distendus avec ma famille. Or, cet été-là, ma cousine se mariait. J’allais donc revenir à Saint-Fourneau. Et les revoir. Tous. Enfin, ceux qui restaient. 
Mais soyons honnête, le problème n’était pas là.

'Faire mouche' translates literally as 'to make the fly', but a colloquial translation would be 'to hit the bulls-eye'. In this atmospheric French novella, the title makes very little sense until the last few pages when suddenly 'the problem' alluded to in the synopsis is revealed. Faire Mouche is a mystery story, but one in which we don't even really know what the mystery is for much of the time - and I don't think that's was because of my slow reading in French! Laurent has returned to his home village to attend a cousin's wedding - is the cousin the problem? Or Laurent's mother having set up home with his uncle? Or that Laurent's girlfriend, Claire, is also Constance?

To be honest, not much actually happens in the course of this novella. Action and adventure fans would be well advised to give it a miss. However, I loved the slow buildup of uncertainty and unease. Scenes, such as one in which Laurent's mother skins a rabbit for dinner, are loaded with extra meaning and trying to differentiate the meaningful from the mundane made for compelling reading. I liked that Almendros writes generally in clear shorter sentences so I didn't struggle too much with the actual language and was therefore able to appreciate the nuances of the story. The plain cover mean I had no clue to what genre Faire Mouche would be when I chose the book, but it turned out to be a good find and I enjoyed the read.

Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Vincent Almendros / Mystery fiction / Books from France


  1. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it.

  2. Yay for reading in French! I love that you're reading in a different language. I think I would feel a bit impatient for the ending and the mystery to show itself. But it sounds like there is enough meaning and small moments with a lot in them to keep you intrigued.

    Olivia-S @ Olivia's Catastrophe

    1. This would have been a much faster paced story had I read it English!! My frequent fumbles through the dictionary didn't diminish the story's atmosphere though