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.”
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.