Sarah's Reviews > School's Out

School's Out by Christophe Dufossé
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's review
Feb 17, 08

bookshelves: not-memorable
Read in February, 2008

A perennial topic in my tutoring sessions with non-native speakers is why there are so few books translated from other languages into English, relatively speaking. More specifically, books by native-English speaking authors are more likely to top the bestseller list or show up on Oprah. After reading School's Out I would have to say the answer to that question may lie in the milieu of cultural miscues that one encounters when trying to understand the French psyche. Perhaps that's why I didn't connect with this book. Or maybe if I were French and reading it in French I still wouldn't like it. A perennial question that may have no answer.
Wow, this book was bad. The narrator, a schoolteacher, rambled on and on about nothing. There were ominous signs of malfeasance--repeated phone calls with no one on the other end, copping a feel of his sister's breast, a mysterious video tape--that led to absolutely nothing. Added to that, the writing, or perhaps the translation, seemed only intended as a practice in self-aggrandizing. The author used a slew of GRE words, and he unfortunately used them repeatedly. Everyone in the book, it seemed, at some point expressed "rancor".
The main problem with this book, however, is that Dufosse offers wonderfully descriptive passages, the kind that would translate well out of context in a review of the book. But between these passages are vast (another overused word in the novel) stretches of disconnectedness. I never understood who the characters are and what defines them and why I should care about the novel's denouement.

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