Moving and disturbing

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The Child by Pascale Kramer

Book Review:  4 out of 5 star rating

Claude is a former gym teacher who is battling cancer and losing. He lives in a low-income neighborhood with his wife, Simone.  There has been rioting in their neighborhood with the constant sound of police sirens.  There isn’t much calm inside their home either as they each in their own way try to adjust to the end of Claude’s days.  It’s just the two of them until a young boy comes for a visit and throws everything into even more discord.

The author doesn’t flinch at describing the horrors of a death from cancer. That and the effects of his decline on those around him make for a very disturbing read.  But as in her book “Autopsy of a Father”, Ms. Kramer writes in such a poetical manner that her books are beautiful to read despite the subject matter.  This is an in depth look at the end of a marriage as a result of death that I know will stay with me for some time to come.  It’s a short book, only about 150 pages, and I hope to read it again one day, not so much as to know what happens in the book as I already know that but just to enjoy the writing again.

Recommended.

Quietly discomforting

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Autopsy of a Father by Pascale Kramer

Book Review:  4 out of 5 star rating

Ania is estranged from her father, Gabriel, a prominent journalist, not having seen him for four years. However, she decides to visit him with her young son, Theo.  The visit is an awkward one.  Ania is shocked to learn the next day that her father has committed suicide.  Ania returns to her father’s home where she grew up and tries to piece together the last years of her father’s life.  She discovers that her father was fired from his job when he defended the murder of a harmless African immigrant.  Her father’s actions have released a violent response in the community.  How did her father turn into such a racist?

I was very impressed by this short novel translated from the French language in which the author wrote. It’s a quiet book but kept me riveted to the pages with a chill up my spine.  The title is a perfect one as this book is in fact an autopsy of this man, an in depth look at his life, family and animosity towards immigrants.  It’s insightful and compelling and casts a light on the racial tension in France.

I now want to read more of this author’s work and I’ll be getting a chance to do just that since, along with an ARC of Ms. Kramer’s newest book, the publisher also kindly sent me a copy of “The Child” by the same author. You’ll be seeing a review on that book fairly soon!

Very unsettling and quite fascinating. Recommended.

This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.