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9
3.9 out of 5 stars
Moon in a Dead Eye
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 12 August 2013
A short but beautiful and quirky read, "Moon in a Dead Eye" follows a group of elderly people as they move into a gated community, hoping for the good life in the sun. Unfortunately it doesnt quite live up to expectations - as a new build there are only two couples and one single lady living there - and the social activities advertised are not forthcoming as hoped. A social secretary finally arrives and things begin to look up. But of course, with a tight knit group such as this there are always going to be unseen tensions...

I adored this book but I am finding it quite difficult to say why exactly. It was just, well, GOOD! It kind of meanders along as you get to know each individual person and their foibles, and a lot of the book is really just how they settle in, react to each other and to their new surroundings and what they do to pass the time. The author however somehow manages to impart a sense of menace....like something is hovering just beneath the surface that you can't quite put your finger on. Ok so the caretaker is a somewhat sinister character but that in and of itself is not all of it. So I'd say its clever writing. Pascal Garnier definitely had an eye to the ironic...and he also managed a fair bit of humour.. still you felt all the way through that perhaps something was coming.

Was something coming? Well you will have to read it to find out. And I would say do so if you want something a little different and unexpected, but also purely for the genius of the writing. The turn of phrase and the way it flows is terrific. Perhaps not a book I would normally have picked up I am grateful to the publisher for sending me a copy to review. Otherwise I might have missed out and that would NEVER do.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The latest of Garnier's works to be published in English is as delightful as the rest. Another reviewer has used the word "quirky" which is a perfect description but for me it is the author's humanity that shines through. None of his books I have read so far concern what you may call obvious characters or plotlines but whereas other authors, dare I say especially American ones, will take ages and use way too many words to get to the point, Garnier wastes not a word, resulting in a lean and taut novella. One further word of praise should be offered to the translator, Emily Boyce, whose work here is exemplary.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This is a bleak little novella. We visit a new gated retirement village sold on promises and goodwill. Alas, the five residents (two couples and a single lady) don't really like each other. Nor do they like M. Flesh, the caretaker. Their dislike is reciprocated. In a Ballard-esque way, the retirees gradually break down and their humanity disintegrates. Fans of High Rise and Concrete Island will enjoy Moon in a Dead Eye.

There is an inevitability to it all - you aren't reading Pascal Garnier for a love story - but it is intriguing to work pout exactly how it will all unravel. The characters are relatively straightforward although some of them only become clear towards the end. The atmosphere is done well, with a feeling of isolation and helplessness, the initial optimism that things might work out evaporating slowly. There is surprising subtlety in a work this short and the reader is left wanting more.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 24 September 2013
This is the third Pascal Garnier I have read. They are all slender volumes full of engaging narratives, strange and shocking moments of violence or unexpected events and a darkly satirical view of the human condition. I liked this one best with the gradually growing sense of foreboding mixed with the sad and funny character development. Despite everything that happens, Garnier always offers a glimmer of hope that at least a few of his characters might find some sort of happiness. However, I never want to buy a property in a retirement village after reading this!
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on 11 May 2015
Odd things happen in Pascal Garnier's 2009 novella Moon in a Dead Eye. Set in present day, south of France, the action takes place in a newly built, plush housing complex: Les Conviviales. The retired, affluent characters are the only residents, apart from a hippy events co-ordinator and a menacing caretaker named Monsieur Flesh. The story centres around two couples, the Sudres and the Nodes, plus a mysterious single woman. From the outset you feel the claustrophobic tension of being protected by locked gates and CCTV, when Odette Sudre asks her husband what he is doing. He replies, "Nothing. What do you think I'm doing?" The tone is set.

Eeriness lurking around freshly painted corners is the highlight of this work, plus the strangeness of each character as they display their public faces: well-dressed, mannered, knowledgeable and wealthy, but sometimes revealing their inner lives, which are complex and shocking. With echoes of J. G. Ballard's High Rise, this claustrophobic page-turner pays off with a satisfying ending.

I loved this book for its believable characters, moments of comedy, solid dialogue and strong plot. A must read for those that enjoy a bit of weirdness in their stories.
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on 3 January 2015
Vive la mort! Long live death, says the sinisterly named caretaker, Flesh, and we always expect a bloodbath by the end of a Garnier novel. Who will survive, is our question, and wouldn't they be better off dead?
But this novel is blackly funny about the unfortunate, hopeful retirees who have moved into the sheltered accommodation from hell, and by implication about all of our hopes of old age. La vie n'est pas gaie, chez Garnier.
It's very well written, though after a while you start to read with your hands over your eyes.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 16 January 2014
eloquent tale of retirees in the south of France. strangers thrown together in a retirement community trying to get along and then disaster strikes. very readable only took 2 hours.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 January 2015
The names of the characters ran into each other....Maxine, Marlene, Martial. Not much joy in the book. Nothing like Georges Simenon.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 October 2014
Am unable to understand why this book got written at all !
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