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Moon in a Dead Eye Paperback – August 12, 2014
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‘Bleak, often funny and never predictable.’ Observer
‘Action-packed and full of gallows humour.’ Sunday Telegraph
‘Grimly humorous and tremendously dark ... Superb.' Figaro Littéraire
‘Pascal Garnier is not just an accomplished stylist but also an exceptional storyteller.’ Lire
About the Author
Simenon. He lived in a small village in the Ardèche devoting himself to writing and painting. Garnier died in March 2010.
Emily Boyce: Emily Boyce is in-house translator for Gallic Books. She lives in London
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Pascal Garnier sets up this sparse petrie dish of fading humanity, surrounds it with supposedly dangerous Gypsies, and then lets his characters play out.
I loved this book. Garnier makes major societal points about community, isolation, and the danger of imagining danger. I wish I could meet the author; I think I picked up on most points, but I still have so many questions about the character's quirks and motivations. This doesn't mean he didn't describe them well, it means they are so complex that I felt invested as a reader.
I am grateful to Gallic Press for sending me Moon in a Dead Eye, by a famous French noir voice, who unfortunately died a few years ago.
Like Yasmina Reza, another great contemporary French author, in Le dieu du carnage (The God of Carnage), Garnier takes a somewhat ordinary situation, with apparently normal people, and manages to turn the whole thing into pure hell, within just 127 pages!
Martial and Odette Sudre are the very first inhabitants at Les Conviviales, brand new retirement gated community. Then Maxime and Marlène Node arrive. The two couples get to know each other.
There’s also the caretaker, Monsieur Flesh, and Nadine, hired to organize activities as new members slowly join.
One day, Flseh is seen killing a cat, and little by little things are no longer what they seem to be: Martial merges too much his scifi readings with his daily life, and Léa, a new comer, acts crazy. The weirdness increases dramatically as they are informed that a group of gypsies has just settled very close to their gated community, and they all begin to get edgy and argue about anything and everything.
I will not tell you more, but it’s quite interesting to see how the author manages to have things escalate and turn a supposedly convivial place into real hell. Will they even survive and get out of it alive?
I really enjoyed the writing as well, direct, simple, down to earth.
Apart from the plot, Garnier does a fantastic job on society clichés, and the place of senior citizens and gypsies, two critical issues in modern France.
VERDICT: If you enjoy noir literature, why not expand your horizon and try this short mystery, with a tight plot and great writing.
The first and only residents of the complex for the first month, the Sudres are soon joined by Maxime and Marlene Node, a couple of similar background who had lived in the residential neighborhood of Orleans, and then by Lea, a single woman who the others speculate may be a widow. Monsieur Gerard Flesh, the aforementioned caretaker, and ultimately Nadine, the 45-yeyar-old woman hired to organize the activities and run the clubhouse and who finds a bit of cannabis soothing, round out the residents. “It made Martial smile. For the time being, there were still just the five of them, with no new arrivals on the cards. They weren’t exactly fighting for space in the pool. In fact, it was starting to feel a bit weird, all the empty houses.” But they all have their little quirks. Maxime, for example, feels comforted with his gun behind the cushions of his wheelchair. The atmosphere changes soon, however, with the appearance just beyond the gates of caravans of gypsies, apparently an annual event, and a sense of unease sets in, the residents’ sense of isolation suddenly seeming threatening.
Pascal Garnier, prize-winning author of over 60 books [of which this was the third published in the US], was born in Paris in 1949 and passed away in 2010. Next up for this reviewer is his The Front Seat Passenger, which was published by Gallic Books in the US in September of 2014, to which I am greatly looking forward. Recommended.
Most recent customer reviews
Five people move into Les Conviviales, a retirement community in France.Read more
OK, I admit it: I lied. When I reviewed Pascal Garnier's The A26, I said that next up would be Boxes, also translated by Melanie Florence, but it just didn't...Read more