A Long way off by Pascal Garnier

A long way off by Pascal Garnier

French noir fiction

Original title – Le grandes Loin

Translator – Emily Boyce

Source – review copy

Well, here we have the last novel that Garnier published in his lifetime. Over the years I have reviewed his books five times before on the blog and he is a writer who I have enjoyed for his black humor and use of everyday characters in his works. There is still a couple I think to be translated into English as on his french Wikipedia there was a book that came out after his death. Anyway, let’s see what his last book is like?

He had spent a good hour leaning on the railing of the motorway bridge and would have probably be there still had it not began to pour with rain. Often when driving he had seen people perched above main roads like a melancholy birds of prey. The sight of them engaged in this sad and usually solitary activity had always intrigued and sometimes worried him. You could imagine almost anything about thme – perhaps they were about to throw themsleves off, of their bicycle, since they usually had one propped beside them. What were they looking at ?

A great insight into some one sad and lonely as marc looks over the bridge !!

As I said Garnier loved the normal folk of the world in a way I often think he was like a french version of the league of gentlemen. Where we meet normal people but with a slight twist always. Here we have Marc he has retired but is bored with his life? He has a wife but is want a taste of freedom we see the mundane of his everyday life at the start of the book. For me, this is a usual character from Garnier I have found in his books he is great at the later life crisis in people. So with his adult daughter, Anne who he hasn’t spent much time with and who has recently left mental health unit and the cat decided to take a battered camper on a road trip heading to Agen which biggest claim to fame is its Prunes ( which made me smile) after they had visited a  channel resort they decide to head further south. But as they head on their way Marc is a little shocked by what his daughter does. As the trip starts to spiral out of control. as people disappear and destruction happens in their wake.

Despite the stick thin shop assistants laughing behind her back, Anne would not be swayed in her dubious choice of clothing.

“The red trouser. The yellow jumper. The green coat. The shiny boots.”

She didn’t Hesitate for a second before the rails”.That ,That and That.” Her pointing index finger brooked no arguements. It went much the same as the hairdresser.

“Frizzy”

“You mean you’d like it curled?”

“No, frizzy, like an Afro”

“Oh…but you have lovely natrual hair”

“Frizzy and yellow”

Marc felt as if he were watchong an island emerge

Anne here sound a bit like Peggy from hi di hi with the yellow hair.

Now, this has a whole lot of things that I had seen in the other books strained family relationships family not knowing each other which is a common thread in his books. Boredom and the later-life crisis. Getting stuck in a situation which at times reminds me of what I loved in Magnus Mills books another writer that is great at the ordinary people caught up in odd situations and that leads to dark humor. Here Marc and Anne could have walked off the set of the league of gentlemen they have that oddness to them as they struggle with this road trip,. This Garnier at his best which is a shame as it was the last in his lifetime.

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lisa Hill
    Jun 23, 2020 @ 05:27:54

    I do not have a single Garnier in my TBR, which one should I start with?

    Reply

  2. JacquiWine
    Jun 23, 2020 @ 07:49:17

    The League of Gentlemen (TV series) is spot on as a comparison for this author. I thought the same thing, particularly with The A26 – “This is a local shop, for local people!” etc. etc.. It’s been a while since I read a Garnier, so I’ll keep an eye out for this one.

    Reply

  3. Trackback: That was the months that was May/June 2020 | Winstonsdad's Blog

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