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The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches

3.85  ·  Rating Details  ·  978 Ratings  ·  110 Reviews
Alone with their authoritarian father on a vast estate where time has stopped, two siblings speak a language and inhabit a surreal universe of their own making, shaped by their reading of philosophy and tales of chivalry. When their father dies and the children set out to bury him, they encounter the inhabitants of the neighboring village, and the pair's cloak of romance a ...more
Hardcover, 138 pages
Published November 14th 2001 by Arcade Publishing (first published 1998)
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Betule Sairafi No. :( It's the Fair Punishment.

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There are books, however short or long, that take forever to get through; books that make you twist and dig and plunder for meaning behind painfully skillful, cruelly dense language. Gaetan Soucy's The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches is that.

This isn't a bizarre story, its just bizarrely written. And bizarre is good. Its about two siblings, ages estimated around late teens, who one morning discover their father dead by hanging. One of them decides to venture out to town to purchase a co
Wow. I hardly know what to say after having finished this book. I am shaken.

Reading this book was sort of like having bandages removed from your eyes, layer by layer.

Things become lighter and lighter, clearer and clearer, and you are excited by the anticipation of the possibilities of the world you will behold once your vision is completely unobstructed.

And then the picture begins to emerge, and there you are, drowning in burning, blinding light, raw and unprotected.

Part of you wishes you co
Mar 25, 2009 Chelsie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to admit I have just finished reading this book, and I'm speechless(which is not a good time to try to write a book review). This book was a bit hard to get used to but once I was about halfway I got the hang of the language and tone of it! It is so rich and deep with layers that I kept having to stop and re-read sections just to pick up on minor details i had missed or overlooked. At first I didn't think I would like this book at all and I almost put it down, but it is so short I decided ...more
Oct 29, 2011 Anna rated it did not like it
If you like over-the-top gothic horror, you probably will like this book. I found it to be silly and pointless. Two children, raised in isolation by an abusive father, have to face the outside world when their father dies. Some reviewers think the language is beautiful and poetic. But the language is an artifact of the narrator's point of view, which was implausible to the point of being ridiculous. SPOILER ALERT: On the one hand, this kid has read enough from her father's vast library that she ...more
Jun 30, 2008 Sister rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: child psychologists, children of priests, horse owners, pyromaniacs, and employers of puns
I stole a copy of this from my friend who has too many books, as partial payment for taking care of his misogynist cat. He didn't mind, because of course he had another copy tucked away. Well honestly it pissed him off at first, because he didn't realize he had two copies, and was planning to read the copy I pilfered. He's since forgiven me, and allowed me to come over and clean up after his vomiting she-beast while he prances off to glamorous book events such as BEA (I'm never invited).

I decide
Jan 24, 2016 Justė rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brrr. Kraupokoka knyga. Einu slėpti degtukų ir lyginti beskaitant atsiradusias raukšles.
Here's how the progression of my reading went:

1st couple of pages: What is going on and why is grammar not a thing.

A little further in: Okay no this is cool and weird and a little creepy I like it

Near the end of the first half: THIS IS PRETTY and I need to copy stuff down, this is actually SUCH an effective way to use words how did the author pull this off? And what does it look like untranslated?

Moving into the second half: PERFECT IT GETS DARKER, I'm at a good level of unsettled. Also, words?!
Mar 21, 2014 Aideeeee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lectores arriesgados
Es que... WOW

Éste es un libro diferente, supe de él por un artículo que amablemente me compartieron, titulado "3 Novelas Sucias". Las otras dos no las he podido conseguir, lamentablemente.

Y vaya que no hay mejor manera de describir esta historia, que con la palabra "sucia".

Cuenta la vida de una persona que ha vivido aislada toda su vida junto a su hermano y es cuando su padre (y carcelero) muere que éste ser se ve obligado a salir de casa para conseguir un ataúd y en el camino empieza a desentra
M. Sarki
Mar 12, 2013 M. Sarki rated it did not like it
I was completely disappointed in this novel and not because there wasn't some good writing in it, there was. But my expectations were so high for it. Even a particular blurb on the cover announced this Soucy fellow, this philosopher, as being compared almost religiously to Samuel Beckett which got my attention and I wished it hadn't. There were several clever lines in the book, but not enough to override the lack of any delectable flesh for me to mash my teeth on. I was wishing for more violence ...more
Feb 16, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
If you have decided that it is long past time that you read War and Peace and Anna Karenina, and you have, by chance, decided to read both of them over a two month period, then this book by Gaetan Soucy is a wonderful novel to read in the middle of the two -- an excellent palate cleanser between Tolstoyan courses.

I couldn't be more pleased with my choice of light reading to serve as intermission between the two massive classics. Little Girl is everything Tolstoy is not: the mundane to Tolstoy's
Sep 28, 2008 marissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: indie-film junkies
The narrator of this story speaks with an old-world cadence, startlingly original and evocative phrasing folded in among distressingly detailed accounts of cruelty, filth, and deviance. After reaching the alarming conclusion of the book with its multiple revelations, I went back to the beginning and realized that most of the "twist" elements are present right up front; Soucy creates a reality that's so dense with peculiarity that the reader gets disoriented, unable to figure out how to weight ea ...more
Jan 02, 2016 Dovilė rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 3-star-books, 2016
Skaičiau ir iki galo taip ir nesupratau, patinka man ji, ar ne. Kai kas nuspėjama, kai kas vertė nejaukiai pasijausti, kai kam paaiškinimų norėjosi daugiau. Pradžia lėta, vidurys - pats tas, pabaiga - balaganas. Priminė ne vieną matytą filmą (We Are What We Are, Miss Violence, Kynodontas) ir, žinoma, ,,Širšių fabriką" bei ,,Storą sąsiuvinį".
Šiaip svarsčiau tarp 3 ir 4, tai realiai toks viduriukas tarp jų ir būtų tikslesnis įvertinimas.
I don't know how good it would be but it's been translated in English : The Little Girl who was too fond of matches

This was disturbing, upsetting, moving, and absorbing.
At first the style is hard to get used to; the narrator is a girl who's been cut off from the world by her father. She has been made to believe that she is a boy and has no awareness of the world as we know it. She creates words, mingles formal and colloquial expressions and we slowly discover through clues that she leaves innoc
Jun 22, 2008 Charles rated it liked it
Definitely an interesting read.

Written from the 1st person perspective of a well-read yet isolated young woman who confidently misuses language and metaphor, the POV is truly strange and engaging.

I liked the story best when it was at its most poetic. Because there's so much wordplay and confusion, I wonder how it was possible to translate from the French and what the original is like.

Feb 05, 2016 Winter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-read
4,5 Stars

Sometimes you read a book that’s just brilliantly written. This one is just that, it is brilliant. Written inside the head of one of two siblings who has recently lost their father. Being isolated from the world pretty much all their life, the transition is a shocking one when they have to connect with their fellow persons.

It is a beautiful book writing wise and I can’t really get over how clever it is written. However it’s also inside the head of a person who doesn’t really know hygien
Sep 28, 2008 Lavinia rated it liked it
Shelves: 2005, fiction
An interesting experience. Quite a bit scary.

o experienta interesanta. chiar mai mult, oarecum terifianta.
Oct 02, 2013 Eliza rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Par où commencer ? Ce livre, c'est d'abord une langue, drôle, colorée, sauvage, d'une inventivité folle. C'est ensuite un personnage, le narrateur, qui nous échappe dès qu'on croit le connaître. C'est un monde, vivant et foisonnant, qui brouille tous nos repères, notamment historiques. C'est enfin une histoire, un apprentissage du monde, plein d'aventures, de rebondissements et de tristesse.

Deux jeunes garçons découvrent un matin que leur père s'est suicidé. Ils habitaient seuls avec lui dans un
Пришлось нам с братом зажать вселенную в ладошке, потому что как-то утром, когда только-только начало светать, папа наш отдал богу душу и даже не предупредил нас об этом заранее.

Это неплохой трешак, такие встречаются на моем пути крайне редко. Скорее всего, потому что я их просто не читаю. Мерзотные подробности, диковатые герои, сакраментальные фразы, которые переворачивают историю с ног на голову, искаженная реальность, сюжет, раскрывающийся с середины, и полная хрень в начале, когда голова иде
Aug 08, 2007 Hannah rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
A weird little book translated from the French and with an epigraph by Wittgenstein to start things off (that, basically, explains everything right there). It took me about an hour to places more like a fantasy novel (reminds me a bit of Crowley's Little Big or something like that) and in other ways a pretty modern/harsh assessment of, let's say, basic human nature(s).

Weird little book. The narrator is a sort of feral child, who speaks a language that is simultaneously naive/innocent
Sep 05, 2013 Anibalector rated it really liked it
Really liked the style, the syntax and of course, the story. Brutal, but amazingly beautiful. The innocence of those teens is really heartbreaking and the author knew what to extract from their story. One of the best books I`ve read recently. ...more
On ne referme pas ce livre sans être un peu (beaucoup) sous le choc de l'horreur qui progresse et qui culmine. Brillamment écrit mais un récit qui me laisse dubitative. Les mots me manquent...
Jan 16, 2012 KayG rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, prime
What an astonishing little novel! As the dark story is told, facts are slowly revealed, and tale becomes increasingly horrific. This one will stay with me for a long time!
Jan 04, 2016 Sue rated it it was amazing
This book provided a rich and lively book club discussion. All agreed it was very disturbing and at times a book filled with so much pain.
A difficult read it became somewhat clearer and richer as it went along. A lot open to interpretation and filling in the blanks on your own. Right or wrong, who knows?

I read it both in French and in English. I would say the book is clearer for the French reader due to feminine/masculine being separate in French (adjectives, verb endings,...) and nothing being
Oct 24, 2007 Karma rated it it was amazing
The best word to describe this book is weird. My mother gave it to me as a gift so I had to read it. I'm glad I did. It has become one of my favorites.
May 01, 2012 Charlotte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french
Tres bizarre, creatif, mysterieux, interessant, unique. Je veux le relire tout de suite!
Apr 03, 2012 April rated it really liked it
Recommended to April by: The Dollar Store
I appreciate my own family more after reading this book
Jul 17, 2013 Franny rated it it was amazing
Beautiful and disturbing at the same time
Anne Claire
Jan 02, 2015 Anne Claire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Swap automne 2011 - Suzanne ecrivain
Deux enfants pris au dpourvu par la mort de leur de pre, dans un trange domaine rgi par le 'code de la bonne maison', se demandent ce qu'ils peuvent bien faire du cadavre et de la vie qui leur reste vivre hors de sa loi. Un univers mystrieux s'difie, que le lecteur ne pntrera jamais compltement, un monde qui participe la fois du conte fantastique et de la fable philosophique.
If you find a translation of that book I recommend! :)
But I have read the original french version.

C'est un livre qui reste avec nous et qui nous marque. Un livre que je n'aurais jamais choisi moi même. Je l'ai lu pour un cours de français au secondaire et je dois dire qu'au début les phrases sans fin, les mots inventés, ça mélange un peu et ça prends du temps avant de vraiment comprendre le narrateur. Mais un coup bien encré dans l'univers de ces enfants laissés à eux-même, on ne peut plus s'arr
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Read by Theme: The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches 4 40 Oct 30, 2012 02:50AM  
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Gaétan Soucy est né à Montréal, le 21 octobre 1958. Après des études en physique et en mathématiques à l’Université de Montréal, il termine des études littéraires à l’Université du Québec, puis obtient une maîtrise en philosophie par un mémoire remarqué sur la théorie transcendantale des sciences dans la philosophie critique kantienne. Enfin, il consacrera quelques années à l’étude exclusive de la
More about Gaétan Soucy...

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