Blood Wedding is the latest novel from Pierre Lemaitre.
Published by Quercus, it was released in July 2016. I would like to thank Quercus & NetGalley for the ARC that I received in exchange for an honest review.
‘Normally happy and well-adjusted, Sophie Duguet doesn’t understand what’s happening to her: she has begun losing things, from her recently delivered mail to the car she parked the night before. She is constantly forgetting things she’s said and done, too . . . only to be reminded of them by her acquaintances. She’s even detained by the police for shoplifting–a crime she has no memory whatsoever of having committed.
But this is just the beginning. As she slowly sinks deeper into dementia and depression, things go from troubling to alarming. Soon she finds herself connected to the deaths of several people around her: a neighbor boy she is babysitting is murdered while in her care; a stranger seeks shelter with her and winds up dead; and finally, her employer is killed in a way that suggests she was responsible. And she doesn’t remember a thing about any of it.
Desperate to escape the nightmare, a confused and horrified Sophie changes her name and relocates, hoping to outrun the demons that have begun to plague her. But this may not be enough to stop the evil that has poisoned her life and begun to claim the lives of everyone around her . . .’ (Courtesy of Amazon.com)
I was attracted to Blood Wedding for a variety of reasons. It a thriller, it’s noir, it’s set in France but also it’s a translation. For me this feels like I’m getting access to a book I would not normally get an opportunity to read or review. Blood Wedding is brilliantly translated from French by Frank Wynne. I find the perspectives in translated novels very different from other novels and I like that.
The novel centres around two main characters, Sophie Duguet and Frantz Berg. It is split into three sections
- Sophie & Frantz
The first section is told as a narrative about Sophie and the terrible ‘accidental’ tragedies that are happening in her life.
The second section is laid out in a diary style, where we get to see the inner workings of Frantz’s mind
The final section is a narrative again, where Sophie and Frantz are brought together.
It’s a very interesting layout, keeping you very much present with the book.
Sophie is young, happily married to Vincent & gainfully employed in PR in an auction house. She has everything going for her. Both she and Vincent are comfortably well off and all seems just perfect until the ‘little’ things start to happen. Initially it’s just small stuff – misplaced items and such, but as time goes by, Sophie notices that all is not well. She becomes paranoid about her behaviour but doesn’t confide in Vincent the extent of the issue. She confides in her friend, Valerie. who begins to become very wary of Sophie’s odd behaviour. Sophie and Vincent move to the countryside but the paranoia and horror continues to follow them until eventually tragedy strikes.
Sophie, overtime, with no-one to confide in, becomes a shadow of her former self. She runs & hides but the horrors and terrible misfortunes continue to follow her.
What is to become of her? Where will she hide?
Frantz Berg, a despicable individual, takes us through the second section of the book in the form of a diary. We discover the lengths he goes to in order to achieve his objectives. He is probably one of the most well placed characters I have ever come across in a psychological thriller. His ability to carry out such twisted and horrific deeds in such a methodical fashion is frightening. He is carrying a pathetic image of a memory of his mother in his mind which becomes the driving force behind his every breath.
The third section of the book brings the whole story to a close. A dramatic twist, of course, which brings a final conclusion to the story of Sophie & Frantz.
Blood Wedding is a book I thoroughly enjoyed. It is a well crafted psychological thriller, with a touch of noir. I could quite easily imagine it on the big screen in black & white with subtitles. I look forward to reading more from Pierre Lemaitre, now that I have discovered him. Thanks again to Quercus & NetGalley for broadening my reading horizons.
Til Next Time
About The Author
Pierre Lemaitre (born 19 April 1951 in Paris) is a Prix Goncourt-winning French author and a screenwriter, internationally renowned for the crime novels featuring the fictional character Commandant
His first novel to be translated into English, Alex, is a translation of the French book of the same title, it won the CWA International Dagger for best crime novel of 2013.
In November 2013, he was awarded the Prix Goncourt, France’s top literary prize, for Au revoir là-haut, an epic about World War I.The translation of another of his French novels, Camille won the CWA International Dagger in 2015. (Courtesy of Wikipedia)