This is a book that I first read as part of my French classes at school – it is a translation of Japrisot’s “L’été meurtrier” – and I’d wanted to read it again for a while, so I took it on holiday last summer to Spain where some days it was blisteringly hot. Perfect reading conditions for this book.
A young woman is out to avenge a vicious attack on her mother many years ago. The impact on all those pulled into her path is life-changing.
The story is told from the differing vantage points of some of the main characters and you are given a lot of information – especially dates – which allows you to build up a fuller picture of what is going on. Towards the end of the book you need to keep reading as you know there is very little time left to bring the story to a close. You really do have to read to the very last word to know how things come together. It is very well done, leaving you to reflect on all that you have learnt so far. I was left with a sense of horror at the end.
A little word of warning: the writing style might not be to everyone’s taste as this is a translation of a 1970’s French book. As with Japrisot’s earlier book “Trap for Cinderella” the translation leaves something to be desired. Some phrases are translated too literally, but to be fair, the author does play about with the language of the young woman especially when she refers to herself in the third person and exaggerates periods of time that have passed. Still, don’t let this put you off – it reflects aspects of the character’s personality and you get used to it.
If you’re a fan of crime books and fancy a break from all the Scandinavian noir I highly recommend this Gallic story of deception, consequences and revenge served cold.
It is the story of a group of young black guys from a rough part of Los Angeles who are sent on a road trip across America to kill a judge when their narcotics operation is busted by the police.
Its pared-back tone belies the book’s emotional impact. This is more than a journey in a van for the main character – it is a rite of passage. I read through the second half of the book in one sitting one evening and found myself thinking about it all the next morning.
Somehow I managed to miss the fact that there was an audiobook version (it sounds good too…), so I went with the paper version.
Given that the book clocks in at only 300 pages there is a lot of story and character development built in. A number of twists happen out of the blue and without fanfare that mess with the boys’ mission.
I wondered about the plausibility of such young characters being able to do what the plot asks of them but it becomes clear as the story progresses that it wouldn’t be difficult for people to disappear through the cracks of society and never be found. If anybody actually cares enough to look for them in the first place.
Take care if you are sensitive to sometimes harsh language. These are young guys gassing amongst themselves in a confined space. Reflect on this and decide accordingly.
I’m very pleased that I chose to hitch a ride on this particular literary adventure and would highly recommend it.
Wouldn’t fancy doing it for real though.