This review is for Class Trip:
I found this book quite accidentally. I am thrilled that I did because it is an excellent book and so completely beautifully written (and translated).
Carrere is a wonderful writer. His character, Nicolas, is so amazingly realistic. His thoughts, the way his mind wanders from thought to idea, his lack of confidence, his lying without explanation. All this makes Nicolas compelling and empathetic.
Although a bit of a thriller, this story is also a coming-of-age story. Nicolas is forced to grow up while attending a two-week ski-camp with his class. He yearns for acceptance and love and to be "one of the boys".
He IS accepted and he IS loved, and right before the end of the book, he IS indeed "one of the boys". Unfortunately, there is one more chapter or two . . . and, that changes everything and changes Nicolas forever.
The mustache is also a shocker, although quite different from Class Trip. It is also perfect in its horror. The main character shaves off his mustache, but his wife doesn't seem to notice. When he mentions it, she insists that he never had a mustache. Ever. He proves that he did with the tufts of hairs he shaved and with pictures he finds. However, that "evidence" soon disappears and, once again, his wife (and his friends, too) insist he never had a mustache.
Well, if he had a mustache and they are lying, they are taking the joke awfully far. If they are not lying, he is going insane.
Carrere's writing is extraordinary. He is able to grasp fleeting thoughts and ideas that most people have but do not articulate. The story itself is nerve wracking yet the reader is compelled to continue. It's a shocking story with a major shock at the end that will leave you stunned for a few moments. I actually had to re-read the last few pages because it was such a stunner.