Tuesday 10 March 2020

A Long Way Off - Pascal Garnier

Marc dreams of going somewhere far, far away – but he’ll start by taking his cat and his grown-up daughter, Anne, to an out-of-season resort on the Channel.

Reluctant to go home, the curious threesome head south for Agen, whose main claim to fame is its prunes. As their impromptu road trip takes ever stranger turns, the trail of destruction – and mysterious disappearances – mounts up in their wake. 

Shocking, hilarious and poignant, the final dose of French noir from Pascal Garnier, published shortly before his death, is the author on top form.

What did I think?

I was very intrigued by the synopsis of A Long Way Off; it sounds so quirky and original but as it turns out, that doesn't even come close to describing the book.  At 124 pages long, it only takes around an hour to read it but there is so much crammed into the story that it doesn't feel like a novella.  Originally written in French, absolutely nothing has been lost in the amazing translation by Emily Boyce. 

Marc is the main character and when we are first introduced to him he come across as a bit socially inept.  It's no surprise then when he decides to buy a cat and chooses the oldest, fattest and most lethargic cat in the pet shop.  Boudu the cat goes on a road trip along with Marc and his daughter, Anne, who is usually resident in a psychiatric hospital.  This is where the story really takes off as strange things start to happen wherever the trio stop for the night.

As Marc isn't exactly a very colourful character, it took me a little while to get into the book but once Boudu and Anne joined the story it became a book that I easily read in one sitting.  I'm not easily shocked but my jaw did hit the floor and I gasped in horror as the story reached its very very dark conclusion.  This is Noir with a capital 'N' as Pascal Garnier shows how it should be done.

A Long Way Off is a little book with a big storyline; it's short, sharp and shocking.  I'd definitely read more Pascal Garnier books as his dark humour and ability to shock his readers is second to none.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

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