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The Company of Ghosts

3.31  ·  Rating Details ·  54 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
When a bailiff turns up, a teenager tries to salvage her mother, their dignity and the TV. When a bailiff arrives at a housing project on the edge of Paris to draw up a routine inventory of goods in view of seizure, the reception he receives from Rose Melle and her teenage daughter is more than he has bargained for. Rose, forever unhinged by the trauma of childhood spent u ...more
Paperback, 184 pages
Published January 1st 2006 by Dalkey Archive Press (first published 1997)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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MJ Nicholls
This book made me reet proppa melancholy, as they say in the North (of England). By this, I don’t mean the sort of heartsick longing melancholy one finds in a Camera Obscura LP or a French classic, I mean full-on Weltschmerz—the sort of sadness that takes all week to shake off. You roll around on the floor, beating the boards, cursing the naturally evolving world constructed within a naturally evolving series of universes and multiverses, desperate for a better tomorrow for you and your children ...more
Jul 04, 2009 Stephen rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
Not many authors are capable of pulling off what Salvayre does in this withering satire. Through a verbally euphoric comedy, she forces us to see a familiar tragedy in a new light.

The plot follows a simple trajectory: Maitre Echinard, a process-server, visits the home of Rose and her daughter Louisiane to act upon a summons. As he moves from room to room, itemizing the contents of the apartment, he is accosted by Rose, a reclusive madwoman haunted by the ghosts of the Occupation and the death of
Jun 09, 2010 Victoria rated it really liked it
Shelves: lit-fic, world-war-ii
I quite enjoyed this book (in truth, it is more of a novella, being less than 200 pages long). It is translated from French, but the translator did a remarkable job of managing to include and even translate the language-based humour that would be inherent to French speakers. Following the European style, this book does not use quotation marks which, I must admit, made things more than a bit confusing at times since between the mothers' rants, the story is told in the first person point-of-view o ...more
Nov 09, 2011 David rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2011
Punishing, though not at the level of some of Bernhard's work. Sadly, this never quite took the last step over the line. It's powerful, and the subject (the papered-over sins of Vichy France figures) is worthy. Probably more like 3.5 stars.

Still, I'm going to read more of Salvayre's work. She seems interesting. (Major props to Dalkey Archive for their French Literature series, which also introduced me to the excellent Jean-Philippe Toussaint.)
Manon Laroche
Feb 05, 2016 Manon Laroche rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: etudes
Intéressant d'un point de vue stylistique, une manière déroutante mais pertinente d'aborder les sévices de la seconde guerre mondiale. Une expérience que je ne regrette pas.
A noter que malgré l'enchevêtrement des voix et l'absence apparente des normes conventionnelles du dialogue, pas une seule fois je n'ai perdu le fil !
Lance Grabmiller
Sep 02, 2009 Lance Grabmiller rated it it was ok
Originally picked this up used because it was on Dalkey Archives, the second press to publish my favorite author, Carole Maso. It was okay, but forgetful. The text an alternating paranoid monologues with a kafka-esque (if I am so allowed) finishing section. The collision of the tragically personal and the functioning state.
Oct 29, 2010 Kaethe marked it as to-read
I just picked it up because I liked the title and the subtitle.


I never even got around to picking it up and reading a page. If someone else reads it and recommends it, I'll put it back on the list.


Well, since I'd not got around to even stating it, I've added back as TBR
Pierre Sabourin
Le titre exact est La compagnie des spectres. Meilleur livre Lire 1997. Style litteraire nouveau de dialogue en prose. La France sous Petain.
Nuno Marques
Uma visão das consequências da 2ª Guerra Mundial em França com base nas memórias e loucura de uma mulher.
Gostei da mensagem do livro mas não muito da forma algo repetitiva como aborda o assunto.
Le style et toute la construction du récit vous accrochent début, puis cela devient lassant ! La grossièreté des propos (encore une fois trop fréquente) n'ajoute rien au propos.
May 20, 2013 Betty rated it it was ok
Mooie stijloefening, volgehouden tot het einde. Hoog tempo en interessant thema. Desondanks toch niet echt aangrijpend...
Lux rated it it was ok
Dec 09, 2011
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Nov 10, 2010 Bookeraj rated it liked it
It is a portrait of generations, of getting old(er), and of inevitability of death.
Chad Post
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Lydie Salvayre is a French writer. Born in the south of France to Republican refugees from the Spanish Civil War, she went on to study medicine in Toulouse and continues to work as a practicing psychiatrist. She has been awarded both the Prix Hermes and the Prix Novembre for her work.
She won the Prix Goncourt 2014 for her novel Pas Pleurer.
More about Lydie Salvayre...

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