Abandon hope all ye who enter here.

21 Aug

In Philippe Claudel’s By a Slow River, a small-town policeman recounts the murder investigation of an angelic young girl during WW1. The investigation coincides with the suicide of the beautiful but enigmatic new schoolteacher, and the death of the narrator’s beloved wife during childbirth. His description of how the town’s local residents respond to the murder and suicide is colored by his overwhelming devastation at his wife’s death.
Well written, but grim, with a little twist at the end and a revelation about the narrator that may stun, but not really surprise the reader.
So, if you don’t need a happy ending, this winner of the France’s 2003 Prix Renaudot award is well worth the time

Kathy B
Slow River


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