A Long Way Off by Pascal Garnier

In another stroke of luck, I was looking for something short and interesting to read and grabbed A Long Way Off by Pascal Garnier [Emily Boyce, Translator] from the TBR pile. It turns out the release date was yesterday. So despite not necessarily being a book I would recommend for #StayAtHomeAndRead, I figured I would offer a quick review here.

Publishers Description:

Marc dreams of going somewhere far, far away – but he’ll start by taking his cat and his grown-up daughter, Anne, to an out-of-season resort on the Channel.

Reluctant to go home, the curious threesome head south for Agen, whose main claim to fame is its prunes. As their impromptu road trip takes ever stranger turns, the trail of destruction – and mysterious disappearances – mounts up in their wake.

Shocking, hilarious and poignant, the final dose of French noir from Pascal Garnier, published shortly before his death, is the author on top form.

Having read The Panda Theory I guess I should have expected odd, black humor. After all here is what I wrote about that book:

What an odd little book. Bills itself as noir but veers close to black comedy. It is French so perhaps I should have expected weird … :-)

Ditto for this book. It was a very odd atmospheric road trip.

The strength of the story is 1) Marc’s sense that he wants to escape the life he feels trapped in but that he lacks the courage to really cut loose from social bonds and be free and 2) his daughter’s nonchalant but psychopathic approach.

But again, I’m not sure if it is noir so much as black humor. If you like quirky, dark humor you might like this but it is an acquired taste, of that I have no doubt.

Warning: the final scenes are not for the faint of heart. Despite the weird events that led to it, I was not ready for it. So be forewarned.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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