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An Accident in August Paperback – August 30, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Europa Editions; 1 edition (August 30, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609450493
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609450496
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,398,124 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Laurence Cossé worked as a journalist before devoting herself entirely to fiction. She is the author of the satirical thriller, The Corner of the Veil, and several historical novels including the bestselling Prime Minister's Woman. A Novel Bookstore is her ninth novel. She lives in France.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Charles R. Baker on September 26, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
On page 118, "He put the cassette in the pocket of his jeans..." On page 120, "I saw the guy from Paris-Match..." On page 135, Lou goes through the pockets of the Indian's jeans and describes the contents; no cassette is mentioned. Did the Indian leave the cassette, a valuable piece of evidence, with the "guy from Paris-Match"? Unlikely. So, what became of it? Did Laurence Cosse (and Lou) simply forget about it? This is a disappointing oversight in an otherwise enjoyable psychological thriller.
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Format: Paperback
Released to coincide with the fourteenth anniversary of Princess Diana's death, this newly translated novel by Laurence Cosse will attract, at least initially, many of the readers who enjoyed her best-selling A Novel Bookstore, from 2010. In this novel, originally written in 2003, the author picks up one of the remaining mysteries from the investigation of Princess Diana's death and creates a novel around it--a witness's report of a slow-moving car which the Princess's speeding Mercedes grazed at the entrance to the Alma tunnel where the fatal crash occurred. The slow-moving car was described as a white Fiat Uno.

The author imagines the driver to be Louise Origan, a young woman on her way home from work at a restaurant in Paris. Panicked when the Mercedes crashes, Lou never stops. "I was running away. It was my foot that decided, or fear, in any case something that isn't like me." It is not until the next morning that she learns who the victims of the crash are, and though she may have contemplated going to the police to admit involvement in what she thought at first was an "ordinary" accident, she realizes that "there was no way she could go to the police now." The media circus would affect her life forever.

Over the next few days, Lou is consumed with guilt, but at the same time she is doing everything she can possibly do to avoid being identified, eventually making herself sick with worry. Two weeks after the accident, the by-now terrified Lou makes some dramatic decisions and then acts, her self-protective behavior so shocking (and unrealistic) that it cannot be described without involving spoilers. It is this behavior and its consequences which form the bulk of the novel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Roger Brunyate TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
Very early in the morning of August 31 1997, Princess Diana was killed when her car crashed at high speed into a pillar in a road tunnel near the Pont de l'Alma in Paris. Evidence at the crash site suggested that the driver of the car might have lost control after side-swiping a slower-moving car, a white Fiat Uno, near the tunnel entrance. It was not until 2006 that the driver of this car was identified as a young man of Vietnamese origin, but at the time that Laurence Cossé published this novel in 2003, the Fiat still posed a mystery. So Cossé imagines that the driver was Lou Origan, a 25-year-old cook at a Paris restaurant, returning home to the suburbs. Lou, like Laurence Cossé herself, is a woman, and the ensuing novel essentially inhabits her mind as she flees the accident site and then, fearing to turn herself in, has the car repainted and tries to make both it and herself disappear.

You see that Europa Press might want to follow the astounding success of Cossé's A NOVEL BOOKSTORE by rushing a new translation of this earlier novel to print. But despite Europa's typically distinguished presentation, I cannot imagine this interesting many of the fans of the later book. Yes, there were elements of suspense and detection there too, but that novel was held together by the author's deep love of books and appreciation for the people who write, read, and sell them. This, by contrast, is a book entirely without anchor. Lou has very little except her panic; not only is she flat as a character, she seems to exemplify a type of helpless female that (thank goodness) one seldom sees any more in fiction.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 4, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
French author Laurence Cosse has written about the aftermath of the car crash in the Alma tunnel in 1997 that claimed the life of Princess Diana and two others. Of course, probably 1000 other authors have written about the tragedy, but Cosse looks at the mysterious white Fiat Uno, said to have caused the accident before fleeing the scene. This book was originally published in 2003, but was republished after the success of Ms Cosse's latest novel, "A Novel Bookstore".

This book isn't great, but it isn't really bad, either. The main character, a 25 year old woman named Louise or "Lou" as she prefers to be called, lives with a boyfriend she seems semi-fond of and works in a restaurant in Paris. One night, August 31st, 1997, while driving home, in her white Fiat Uno, after a late night at work, she is sideswiped by a large, speeding, black Mercedes in the Alma tunnel. She's driving the speed limit, she's bumped by the Mercedes, and she drives off after witnessing the accident. Only later that morning does she hear who the victims were of the accident. Scared that she will be associated with the case, she gets the car fixed at a local garage, and tries to go about her business. But things aren't working out too well either personally or professionally for Lou, and life really goes to hell after she's accosted and basically kidnapped by a worker at the local garage who puts "damaged white Fiat Uno" and "young woman driver" together to come up with Lou. He abducts her and tries to sell her story to Paris-Match and run off with the money. She is able to put paid to her abductor and her life resumes, though in some radically changed way.

Okay, the basic problem is that the real "Lou" probably wouldn't have behaved as this fictional one does in Cosse's book.
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