Marguerite Duras, trans. by Emma Ramadan and Olivia Baes
RaveNew York Journal of BooksThe plot’s arc is modest but told with lyrical sadness, echoing the author’s own personal grief ... Duras constructs her text with a unique combination of structural asperity and lush style. Her sentences are carved with care, sticks stacked up one atop the other, building to heady, rich paragraphs so that one expects a conflagration. Instead, this drama smolders rather than burns, and even dramatic events are rendered with Francine’s contemplative lassitude. Her descriptions of place—the pastoral beauty of the landscape, the animals, and, later, the sea—suffuse the work and make it glow. Much happens but it is Francine’s interiority where this sensual novel lives and breathes ... Gorgeous writing abounds ... Despite the challenges inherent in her circumscribed existence, Francine observes the exquisite beauty around her and generously shares her vision so that our senses are heightened, and we view the world with fresh eyes, with more nuance and perception. While this woman’s life appears simple, Duras coaxes the reader into the complexity of Francine’s mind and engulfs us in her thoughts, conflicts, and passions.
RaveThe New York Journal of BooksWry, sly, and nicely dry ... Mystery puzzlers will be enthralled with the intrigues and schemes interwoven around the colorful cast, with a resolution that neatly ties up the novel’s many strands ... No review of an Atkinson book would be complete without mentioning the author’s trademark puckishness. Considering the story’s dire happenings, she manages to insert bits of dialogue or narrative that are brilliantly funny ... Not since Martha Grimes or the earlier author Georgette Heyer has there been a writer who has successfully leavened crime with humor in such an engaging fashion ... Kate Atkinson is a writer’s writer and a reader’s absolute pleasure. Brew a pot of Pekoe or splash some tonic in a glass of gin and enjoy this captivating story told by an author at the zenith of her powers.