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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nonsensical, weird, utterly brilliant
It should not work, but it does. And how. Managing to capture a France rarely put on show, a Paris of ethnic diversity not of chic gallic charm, and coincidentally a detective story (of sorts), this tour de force juggles wit with moral dilemmas, belly laughs with social observation. A novel to leap into, and from which you will rise feeling disappointed only that there is...
Published on 25 Oct. 2000

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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a book I would read again
This not a book, I would ever read again. It did not give me pleasure or education. I have not kept it.
Published on 17 May 2013 by Caractacus


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nonsensical, weird, utterly brilliant, 25 Oct. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Fairy Gunmother (Paperback)
It should not work, but it does. And how. Managing to capture a France rarely put on show, a Paris of ethnic diversity not of chic gallic charm, and coincidentally a detective story (of sorts), this tour de force juggles wit with moral dilemmas, belly laughs with social observation. A novel to leap into, and from which you will rise feeling disappointed only that there is not more at the end. I bought it because I liked the cover. Shame. It should be being bought by the truckload even if its cover were dull grey.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious High Jinks in Belleville Paris, 27 Jun. 2009
By 
Feanor (London, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Fairy Gunmother (Paperback)
I zipped through the very delightful The Fairy Gunmother. Set in Belleville, a district of Paris where drug-runners and muggers and deliciously human characters all dwell, it is the second of a quartet of ironic and merry novels by Daniel Pennac. Ably translated by Ian Monk, this one deals with old women who go around murdering policemen and other old women, and has a voluptuous investigative journalist who is the beloved of a literary scapegoat (a chap who is hired to stand around looking depressed and thus deflect the fury of disgruntled authors who come to their publisher to vent and complain) with a fecund mother and many siblings, and a strangely empathetic policeman who manages to extract confessions from even the most hardened criminals, and a hearty Yugoslav who drives old ladies around historically important parts of the country, and drug-addled grandfathers who are taken in and cared for by the scapegoat's family. What a novel! It hums along at frantic pace, filled with lovely wordplay and clever mots and a joie-de-vivre. Several thumbs way, way up.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most uproarious French import since "Diva"!, 15 Nov. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Fairy Gunmother (Paperback)
Under cover cops, pistol-packing old ladies, and a "depontated" girlfriend combine to make life difficult for Benjamin Malaussene, literary director and professional scapegoat! This is the second novel in Pennac's "Belleville Quartet", and a vast improvement over the first, "The Scapegoat". (Afterwards, why not check out the third book in the series, "Write To Kill", which reads like a house afire after a slow beginning!) One of my favorite books this year!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Much more than a murder mystery, 25 Jan. 2013
This review is from: The Fairy Gunmother (Paperback)
This is a murder mystery set in Paris in 1982, but it is much more than that. As well as being humorous it is a social commentary on life in the French capital and it portrays racism and corruption at various levels. To go into plot detail for a murder mystery would be a bit silly as it would destroy much of the point of anyone's reading the book. Suffice it to say the murder mystery element of the story is sophisticated enough to satisfy any fan of such stories, but if that was the only thing said about the book it would not do justice to the richness of the story and the multiple levels at which it operates.
I read this book with no prior knowledge of Daniel Pennac or his work. I found it in the Books Upstairs bookshop in Dublin, a small, quirky place which stocks a wonderful selection of books that excludes best sellers and other trivia. In this bookshop I discovered many authors whose work I now love and I picked up The Fairy Gunmother on spec based on my previous experience of trying new authors discovered in this establishment.
I have not been disappointed.
The story is unconventional in many ways and the plot takes the reader in many unexpected directions. I turned to this book to give me some light relief after reading several serious World War II volumes and it did the job in an intelligent and thoughtful fashion.
I will be reading more Daniel Pennac novels.
In relation to the translation, Ian Monk did an admirable job in that his translation did not hinder the telling of the story. He had to contend with translating slang which must be a nightmare for any translator. He took the approach of translating such slang into equivalent words and expressions found in England, e.g. in referring to the police he used the term, "The Old Bill". This is very English but given that the French original would be meaningless to someone reading the book in English it is a fair enough convention to adopt and it is a small price to pay as a reader to gain access to this wonderful story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An amusing and well conceived novel, 7 May 2015
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This review is from: Fairy Gunmother (Paperback)
An amusing and well conceived novel. The characterisation is great and the voice (it's a 1st person PoV) is fabulous. I've since gone back and read the first in the series (the scapegoat) and realise he had a lot of this novel planned out as he was writing that one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 25 Feb. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Fairy Gunmother (Paperback)
Absolutely brilliant. Reads like a cross between Boris Vian and Kinky Friedmann. Also very beautiful in places. Recommended highly !
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a book I would read again, 17 May 2013
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This review is from: Fairy Gunmother (Paperback)
This not a book, I would ever read again. It did not give me pleasure or education. I have not kept it.
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Fairy Gunmother
Fairy Gunmother by Daniel Pennac (Paperback - 18 Jun. 1998)
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