Garnier, Pascal. “Gallic Noir: Volume 1” Gallic Books, 2018.
Three Dark Novellas
One of the best things about being a reviewer is that I get introduced to books and to writers that I might otherwise never had known about. Pascal Garnier is one such writer. When I was a graduate student I took a couple of courses in Irish literature but we stayed with those writers who had already established places in the canon and there was really nothing about the modernists in Ireland. We did a bit of Gallic writers but not nearly enough. However, it was not until I received a review copy of “Gallic Noir” did I read Garnier. While I am not a big fan of “noir”, I do enjoy dark literature and the three novellas included here are very dark.
“How’s the Pain?” tells the story an of a pest exterminator who is not so young anymore and who feels that his life is passing him by. He decides to take one last job on the French Riviera.
“The Panda Theory” is about a stranger, Gabriel, comes to a town in Breton town and befriends the locals and while at first everyone thinks he I such a nice guy………
Modernity takes center stage in “The A26” the story of a brother and sister who live together on the new Picardy motorway. They are both terminally ill and are haunted by memories of the past, especially the year 1945.
The bleakness of the stories makes them endearing and entertaining. Garnier brings together sudden violence, surrealism and very dry black humor. He uses the themes of “ennui, dislocation, alienation, estrangement’ which while very dark, they become very funny in his tales. He is master of the surprise and I cannot even think of another author to compare him to. Like with the existential writers in the past, we get a new view of the world. The oddness of his themes and the fact that are mysteries means that I cannot really say much without giving something away. You will just have to find out on your own and I can assure you that you will be glad that you did.
“Gallic Noir: Volume II” will be published in June, 2018.