As he arrives with his family at the villa in the hills above Nice, Joe sees a body in the swimming pool. But the girl is very much alive. She is Kitty Finch: a self-proclaimed botanist with green-painted fingernails, walking naked out of the water and into their holiday. Why is she there? What does she want from them? And why does Joe’s wife allow her to remain?
©2011 Deborah Levy (P)2012 W F Howes Ltd
Absorbing story with believable characters, dexterous inter-weaving of plot and the lives of the characters. I found the characters irritating, particularly the central figure of Kitty, the disturbed unwanted guest. The build-up to the suicide (although was there a suggestion of murder by Kitty?) of a central character provided tension and unexpected denouement. The moral might be ‘don’t trust strange young women’, or ‘how helpless we are as human beings’, the latter referring to the failings of almost all the characters, even the apparently strong female war correspondent, although she was the most resourceful. The inclusion of a teenage daughter helped to build the plot elements, but ultimately the reliance on a happy-ever after ending for her was weak, although it did tend to resolve the sense of the negativity of life engendered in the characters and the plot. Did I read it on a bad day?
What a lyrical and poetically written story. Vivid characters thrown together in what was almost an Agatha Christie setting - an isolated house in France with a very small cast of characters. And an unexpected ending which I had to play again. Highly recommended.
"Don't get it"
Is there a storyline to this book? When listening to it on Audible, it just sounds like a broken stream of consciousness. Please can someone educate me on what this book is all about. It flits between quite a few characters none of whom I got into. It kind of centres around Kitty who I think has mental health problems but I'm not perfectly sure as it seems perfectly normal for her to walk around with no clothes on throughout the book. Maybe that's what wealthy British people do in the South of France over the Summer. I must save up, get myself down there and start writing my award winning book about when I got the EasyJet to Nice, then got a cab, then had a baguette etc. Etc. ...do you catch my drift?
This is the best of this years Booker short list outside of Hillary Mantel's historic victory. This novel starts rather pretentiously but finally wins the reader over with its wicked wit, icy cool characters and cinematic narrative. Stay with it - it's worth it!
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.