sobota 29. října 2011

Jacques Tournier: La Maison déserte

   I chose this book absolutely randomly in the municipal library, just because I wanted to read something in French and this wasn’t too long. The problem with most of the French books in that library is that they are from Gallimard and they don’t  bother with any description of books they publish or information on the author. Besides, the library obviously doesn’t bother with getting many new books in foreign languages and if you want a foreign book in other language than English, the offer is nothing much. Now, that I have expressed my discomfort with the municipal library, let’s get back to the book.
    Although Tournier has several books published, this one probably isn’t the best he has ever written. At least I guess so, as Wikipedia doesn’t even mention this book in his entry (and it is the right Jacques Tournier). For those interested, he also wrote a biography of Carson McCullers, translated Tender is the Night or The Great Gatsby into French and wrote some novels like Des Persiennes vert perroquet (I can’t help it but that’s a cool name), A l’intérieur du chien or Zelda (which is about Zelda Fitzgerald and, unfortunately, no Fairy Fountain nor princesses in distress are involved).
   Well, the story. The main character is a woman...and I can’t remember her name. It’s written in the third person and I’d have to look it up. Anyway, she moves from France to the Netherlands where she rents a little house. She lives there with almost no furniture, she doesn’t use the upstairs at all and she is totally depressed all the time. Little by little, we learn that she lost her husband, than fell in love with another man and he died too. Now, she is trying to keep hold on her dead lover and more or less pretends he’s still alive. The book treats the way she comes to terms with her lover’s death and carries on her life.
    It’s not a particularly enjoyable book. I’d say it’s mostly boring. And very...very over-exaggerated. For example, there is a part when the heroine takes a walk to a lighthouse. The weather gets really bad and there is a strong wind and heavy rain but she sits by the lighthouse and watches the storm. Seriously? Storm, lighthouse, dead lover, raging waters? All at once? No, I don’t think so. And there are other, less extreme but still weird scenes.
   I don’t want to say it’s not a good book. Maybe someone with a similar experience would say that’s exactly what he or she felt (although I doubt many people write and actually send letters to their dead lovers...or pretend having dinner with them). But I really didn’t enjoy the book very much and I dare doubt many other people would. 

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