Thursday, March 14, 2019

Article 353: A Novel by Tanguy Viel (translated by William Rodarmor)

(Thank you to Other Press for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

This atmospheric noir novel retraces the steps that led to a murder off the coast of Brittany, probing the relationship between law and justice.

In a depressed town on France’s northern coast, a man named Martial Kermeur has been arrested for the murder of real estate developer Antoine Lazenec after throwing him overboard. Called before a judge, Kermeur goes back to the beginning to explain what brought him to this desperate point: his divorce, his son’s acting out, layoffs at his job, and, above all, Lazenec’s dazzling project for a seaside resort. The temptation to invest all of your severance pay in a beautiful apartment with a view of the sea is great. But of course, this is only a plan in the works—or is it?

In this subtle, enthralling novel, Tanguy Viel examines not only the psychology of a crime, but also the larger social ills that may offer its justification.

my thoughts:

Any book set in France is my jam. Why? I am obsessed with all things French. I just am.  So, when I was provided with the opportunity to read Tanguy Viel's latest novel, Article 353, I jumped at the chance. How could I not, right? Especially, since it was being touted as a crime novel written in the noir style - talk about book bliss!  So, imagine my joy when the book arrived - woo hoo! I grabbed a huge cuppa, a comfy corner on the couch and settled in for the afternoon with my copy.  And let me just say - what a story! I absolutely LOVED it!!

This is the story of Kermeur, a man who has committed murder.  He is brought before a judge to explain himself - why did he kill Antoine Lazenec? And so, we sit in on this conversation as Kermeur tries to explain what brought him to such a place - what caused him to throw Lazenec overboard?  We learn about the small town Kermeur is from, along with the story of his family and how it fell apart.  We learn about Lazenec and his grand plans for the small town.  We learn about a man who felt so lost and alone, he felt he had nothing left to lose.  He reacted by throwing Lazenec overboard, which led to Lazenec drowning.

Slow-going and character-driven, this story is a quiet one.  It is subtle, smart, and thought-provoking.  I found myself captivated by Kermeur's story and his interaction with the judge was fascinating to read.  Questions about right and wrong abounded - this was a novel that made you think and I loved every minute I spent with it. These slow-burn stories are quickly becoming my favorite - they feel like a wolf in sheep's clothing.  They lull you in and then slam you with the simple way they get you to question everything. Talk about a great read!

I would happily recommend Article 353 to fans of Viel and anyone looking for their next great read - you will LOVE this book!!

Thank you to Other Press for providing me with a copy of this book!


Lark said...

I'm drawn to books set in France, too. Especially ones set in Paris. :)

bermudaonion said...

I love a French setting but might need more story than this book provides.

A Bookish Way of Life said...

Lark, they are the best! LOL!

Kathy, me too! I can understand that. It is very slow burn and not much action. But it is very thought-provoking, which I found to be fascinating.