- Paperback: 145 pages
- Publisher: Gallic Books; Tra edition (26 Mar. 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1906040427
- ISBN-13: 978-1906040420
- Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 1.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 99,292 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Panda Theory Paperback – 26 Mar 2012
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More About the Author
Though his writing is often very dark in tone, it sparkles with quirkily beautiful imagery and dry wit. Garnier's work has been likened to the great thriller writer, Georges Simenon. His noirs are published in English by Gallic Books.
Praise for Pascal Garnier:
'A brilliant exercise in grim and gripping irony, it makes you grin as well as wince.' The Sunday Telegraph
'Often bleak, often funny and never predictable.' The Observer
'Garnier's take on the frailty of life has a bracing originality.' The Sunday Times
'For those with a taste for Georges Simenon or Patricia Highsmith, Garnier's recently translated oeuvre will strike a chord.' The Independent
'This is tough, bloody stuff, but put together with a cunning intelligence.' The Sunday Times
'The combination of sudden violence, surreal touches and bone-dry humour have led to Garnier's work being compared with the films of Tarantino and the Coen brothers. When the denouement suddenly begins in The Panda Theory, it is so unexpected that I read the page twice in shocked disbelief. Garnier's take on the frailty of life has a bracing originality.' --Sunday Times
'This often bleak, often funny and never predictable narrative is written in a precise style. Garnier combines a sense of the surreal with a ruthless wit.' --The Observer
A quick, sharp and devastating novel. --Stuart Evers, The Observer
A quick, sharp and devastating novel. --Stuart Evers, The Observer
About the Author
Pascal Garnier is a leading figure in contemporary French literature, in the tradition of Georges Simenon. He lived in a small village in the Ardeche devoting himself to writing and painting. Pascal Garnier died in March 2010.
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Top Customer Reviews
The Panda Theory is a charming little French novella which might just err on the side of being a thriller. The publishers may categorise Garnier's books as "noir" but I found the characters much more engaging than I would normally in noir fiction. Gabriel is a friendly man and the majority of the book shows how he touches the lives of several people in small but meaningful ways. All the characters seem real and remain feeling French throughout the translation. Gabriel's past troubles are revealed in short flashbacks, slowly building up a picture of what he was running from.
The panda in question is a large stuffed toy Gabriel wins from the fair. He didn't really want it but it seems to hang around. The panda welcomes everyone with open arms and a cheery demeanour. Is Gabriel like the panda? I'm not telling, although I really didn't see the ending coming.
Pascal Garnier sadly died in 2010 but left behind what seems to be a large body of work, long and short, for adults and children. Gallic Books has started translating his work into English with three novellas; The Panda Theory, Where's the Pain? and The A26. I'm looking forward to reading more of his work.
This perfectly formed and pocket-sized homage to dull everyday provincial existence, punctuated by the staccato eccentricity of its characters and the sudden fate of violence, is tinged with a jet-black farce that only the French can truly achieve.
Is Gabriel a real friend, an imposter, or an angel as his name conjures up? As we read this we get flashbacks into Gabriel’s past and the troubles he has been through. But you have to carry on to find out if there is a real purpose in the arrival of this seemingly kind and gentle man. All the characters here are to an extent eccentric, dysfunctional or just pathetic and it is hard to relate to any of them, which I suspect is the reason they have been drawn as they have. This gives the story a slightly jarring effect, and with sparse prose which at times is perhaps a bit too sparse as we jump from scene to scene, we get an unsettling and suspenseful atmosphere, where you feel like anything could happen.
There is humour in what is a very bleak tale, albeit dry and very dark, and always a certain tension and feeling of menace. Like the great Georges Simenon Garnier paints a vivid picture of lives that are full of loss and damage reminding us all that at the end of the day life isn’t a bed of roses, we all have baggage that we carry around with us, of one form or another. This makes for an interesting if slightly unsettling read and there is enough here to make a good discussion in a book group.
I was kindly provided with a review copy of this by the publisher via NetGalley.
Having just uploaded my Under The Udala Trees review to NetGalley, I was absent-mindedly browsing the Read Now books when The Panda Theory cover and title caught my eye. I wasn't previously aware of Pascal Garnier so this was a real impulse download, the impetuosity of which I continued by reading the novella on the same day. It's brilliant!
Set in Brittany, an area of France that Dave and I both love, I was easily able to envisage the small town setting as richly described by Garnier. The frequently deserted streets and slightly odd characters add to a creepily unsettling atmosphere, especially as our central character, Gabriel, is the one we as readers know least well. Under the cover of kindness, Gabriel rapidly insinuates himself into the lives of Portuguese bar owner Jose, drug addict Rita and hotel receptionist Madeleine. Then Garnier suddenly whips away the cover and reveals Gabriel's horrific past.
I loved the pace and style of The Panda Theory. It is very French and reminded me of film noir cinema. Garnier manages to swiftly portray deep real people and quirky elements such as the eponymous Panda are cleverly interwoven into his tale. I was disappointed to learn at the end of the book that this author died in 2010, but at least he has left a back catalogue of work for me still to discover.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One day a stranger arrives in a small French town. Quiet and gentle, he soon impresses the inhabitants with his kindness and helpfulness. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amanda Jenkinson
Throughout this fairly short thriller, the reader wonders what the motivation of the narrator is. He is an interesting mixture of compassion and sociable intent, but with a... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Mr. D. G. Smith
In this book Garnier holds back quite a while until his trademark shocking incident and the tension – the waiting for his moment of horror – is quite protracted as a result. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Eileen Shaw
If only Garnier had continued to build on the first half of the book, making something more out of the characters he brings to life so well. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Robert
Sorry for the French header but you must play the field these days on fiction. France is pretty good on noir. Read morePublished 21 months ago by J. F. Middleton