Steve's Reviews > Everyday Life

Everyday Life by Lydie Salvayre
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May 20, 10

bookshelves: novels, translations
Read in May, 2010

All the reviews, etc. I've read about Everyday Life focus on it being a novel of office politics and professional entrenchment, which it is, but I couldn't help reading it as also a story about health -- specifically, the onset of age-related dementia. Rather than the narrator's decline being entirely a result of the new secretary moving into her turf (I don't think I'm giving too much away here?), there's a physiological dimension as well, and that way made the story more tragic than the tragicomic I expected. The narration is deep within one character's distorted, paranoid perspective, and the way Salvayre suggests the perspectives of other characters as a way of revealing the "truth" of the situation was impressive, shifting my sympathies and opinions as the novel progressed. If I was slightly disappointed to find this not so dryly funny as I expected - and was in the mood for when I picked it up - I still enjoyed it very much, albeit not quite in the way I thought I might going in. Nothing wrong with that, though.
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