REVIEW: BLOOD WEDDING by Pierre Lemaitre
A parcel came a few weeks ago with a new Australian publishing proposal, the new book by an author I'd never heard before: Pierre Lemaitre. Not sure if I fancy french authors but I get curious.
Pierre Lemaitre has worked for many years as a professor of literature and now writes novels and screenplays. He received awards for Alex and Camille, two books of his most famous trilogy, the one featuring Commandant Camille Verhoeven (Alex, Irene, Camille). Arrived in Australia 7 years after the date of original publication in France (2009) and a few years delay compared to Italy (2012)
All right, I'm convinced.
I'll give BLOOD WEDDING by Pierre Lemaitre a go.
In the English version, the cover is a full sense of this book. Gray background and a beautiful rose tied with a wire. Then, watching the petals closer you will see that these are not normal petals but profiles of a woman, a woman screaming and deforming in a desperate cry.
Sophie Duguet--young, successful, and happily married--thought at first she was becoming absentminded when she started misplacing her mail and forgetting where she'd parked her car the night before. But then, as her husband and colleagues pointed out with increasing frustration, she began forgetting things she'd said and done, too. And when she was detained by the police for shoplifting, a crime she didn't remember committing, the confusion and blackouts that had begun to plague her took on a more sinister cast. Her marriage started to come apart at the seams.
Now Sophie is in much deeper water: the young boy she nannies is dead while in her care, a tragedy of which she has no memory. Afraid for her sanity and of what the police will do to her when the body is discovered, Sophie goes on the run, changing her identity and appearance to evade the law. Forced to lead a very different kind of life, one on the margins of society, Sophie wonders where everything went wrong.
Still, with a new name and a new life, she hopes that she'll be able to put her demons to rest for good. It soon becomes clear, however, that the real nightmare has only just begun . . .
The novel is divided into four parts. The story begins with the first section titled Sophie. Are immediately thrown into utter confusion, what I read is so shocking and messy that I get lost almost immediately. Sophie's crazy, I think. Many actions are described and immediately after the heroine forgets, launched into a mad dash, running away from something that no one knows exactly what it is. Lost in thought keeps telling herself, 'I'm not crazy, just forget things>. It all started years before with insignificant things, but now, Sophie, forgot a murder. In her arms, the little body of Léo, the child she should have been taken care of. Dead. Strangled in sleep. With one of Sophie's boots laces.
Sophie flees, and us with her, we begin a mad race thrown into darkness. From here on it will be an obstacle course that will take us through the 312 pages with tight muscles and wide eyes glued to the pages.
The second part, however, does not concern Sophie. This part is organized, methodical, precise. The diary of an obsession: full of dates, places and precise plans for revenge. The attention is always focused on Sophie, but that is not her diary. We begin to get an idea, but Sophie no, she does not know anything yet. She has no idea of how much the human mind can be perverse.
The third and fourth parts are rather different, few pauses while running fast towards an ending that will satisfy even the most demanding readers.
BLOOD WEDDING is a destabilizing and subtle novel, so precise and sadist that will makes you shudder. It's sleek, it is despicable and absolutely perfect.
A well-built noir. Personality disorders, revenge, anxiety and confusion are the main themes of this book. The pages are full of suspense, the pace is relentless and still accelerating at breakneck speed towards a grand final. The character of Sophie which is constructed impeccably, self-destructs, mute and fight under our shocked eyes.
BLOOD WEDDING is a compelling and disturbing novel with believable characters, and a watertight plot, an undeniable tour de force of psychological suspense that justifies Lemaitre international reputation as one of Europe's best noir writers.