Friday, 21 August 2015

PASCAL GARNIER - BOXES (2015)


Synopsis/blurb......

Brice and Emma had bought their new home in the countryside together. And then Emma disappeared. Now, as he awaits her return, Brice busies himself with DIY and walks around the village. He gradually comes to know his new neighbours including Blanche, an enigmatic woman in white, who has lived on her own in the big house by the graveyard since the death of her father, to whom Brice bears a curious resemblance...

Boxes was my third read from Pascal Garnier, after enjoying The Front Seat Passenger and The Islanders.

Brice has moved to the countryside. His wife Emma will be joining him shortly, or so we believe. In his new home and new surroundings, Brice becomes overcome by lethargy and starts a descent into depression and mental disintegration. Though when compared to Blanche – his new found village friend, he’s the very picture of normality.

Things don’t end well.

Along the way Garnier treats us to some gems….

Brice arrives for tea at Blanche’s…

The tea was lukewarm and bitter, served in Duralex glasses, and the muffins that went with it were frankly disgusting.
“Do you like them? I baked them myself.”
“They’re delicious.”

Brice reminiscing bitterly over the inevitable Christmas gifts of his childhood……

The Meccano set with its misleading picture on the lid, suggesting you could build a near life-sized model of London Bridge, contained barely enough pieces for a miserable three-wheeled cart. (He had calculated that he would need twenty boxes for London Bridge, he’d have been about twenty-five by the time he finished his opus.)

Towards the end…….

Stealing away like a thief had nothing glorious about it, but it took a certain amount of courage to resolve to be a coward.

Dark, black, bitter, funny and more than a little bit sad.

4 from 5

Pascal Garnier sadly died in 2010. Gallic Books have brought us seven of his novels so far with the promise of more to come. They're website is here.


Thanks to the publishers for my copy.

10 comments:

  1. Why am I not surprised that you liked this one, Col? In all seriousness, Garnier was quite talented, and this is a good 'un. Glad you enjoyed it.

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    1. Margot - total agreement - it is a good 'un. Cheers!

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  2. I've just got a copy of this one so I'm glad to hear you rate it highly. It'll be my introduction to Garnier, though I've been meaning to try his stuff for ages.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoy Boxes when you get to it. There's plenty more from Garnier available if you like him!

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  3. I'm hoping to pick up some Garnier next time I'm in the UK, or I may weaken before than and resort to Wordery . . . Many thanks for the reminder, and the very funny extracts -- especially the Meccano one, which corresponds exactly to my own childhood memories.

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    1. John, I hope you do. My own Meccano set wasn't all that either!

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  4. Col, I'm not sure what to make of this book. Perhaps, I might check out some of Garnier's work at a later date.

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    1. No rush - and there's plenty to choose from, plus Gallic have another few to bring out yet.

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  5. Sounds interesting. I will be reading some of this author's books, but I will start with the one Glen has already.

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