Fridays are for readers: Paris-Brest

This week I’m going to recommend you a book I’ve just read and that is like a little pearl: Paris-Brest, by French writer Tanguy Viel.

It can be described as a family novel, where biography and narrative invention melt. Born in Brest, the author tells us the story through a first person narrator, who is a writer too. Louis (that’s his name) lives in Paris, has written a novel about his family and is coming back home (in Brest) for Christmas after three years. Through his eyes, we get to know his parents, his grandmother, his brother and a friend; we dig into their secrets, into the mediocrity of their lives.

We find here the struggle for money, betrayal, unstable identities, all described with a lucid, sharp and sometimes ironic language. Viel is ruthless in his writing, but maybe there’s room for change. Or maybe not.

It may sound quite negative and pessimistic, but it is not. Just go on reading until the last sentence.

Paris-BrestTanguy Viel, Paris-Brest

Obviously my grandmother’s somewhat belated wealth played an important role in this story. Without all that money, it would never have occurred to my parents to move back to Finistère. And I would probably not have left Brest to live in Paris. But the real problem came, when, years later, I had to go back, had to make the journey back from Paris to Brest.

Enjoy the reading!

Marta Favro

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