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Class Trip & The Mustache

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  282 ratings  ·  44 reviews
La Moustache--now a film directed by Emmanuel Carrère

"What would you say if I shaved off my mustache?" asks The Mustache's hero of his wife. Once removed, his wife and friends not only fail to recognize him, but deny the existence of the former mustache altogether. A metaphysical nightmare of the grandest kind, The Mustache is a stunning blend of absurdist comedy and philo
Paperback, 336 pages
Published May 1st 2003 by Picador
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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Jack Tripper
What if one day you shaved your mustache, one you've had for several years and which is an established part of your look, and no one noticed? Not only that, everyone insists you've never had one, even your wife. It's actually a pretty terrifying question, as it means that either: A. You're going crazy; B. Everyone else is crazy; or, perhaps most frightening, C. Everyone is trying to DRIVE you crazy.

While not technically a horror story, I'm almost tempted to label The Mustache as such, but that's
Feb 02, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two short pieces that really dig into the unsettling paranoia that grows creepily and pervasively stronger when one's view of the world becomes tuned to a slightly different—and far more sinister—frequency. All those fears that lurked just below the surface when you were a child—of what exactly was hidden around that next seemingly inoffensive corner, and what terrifying beasts were concealed within the otherwise stolid frames of the adults who towered above you—mix with the rich fantasy factory ...more
Peter Landau
May 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
After my wife and me had finished reading Emmanuel Carrère’s fantastic nonfiction true-crime book THE ADVERSARY we were eager to read more. She ordered this twofer, a collection of his early novels CLASS TRIP & THE MUSTACHE. I only realized after it came in the mail that I already own a copy, but it’s packed up and in storage as I slowly contemplate moving the family into a house big enough to fit our growing brood. What does this have to do with these novels? Nothing and something. Both charact ...more
Oct 23, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two novels in one volume and both are really good. Also both are kind of creepy and disturbing, which in my world is perfectly fine.

"The Mustache" is something I can relate to in a way. It's a story of a man who shaves his moutache and no one noticed that he had a moutache before. This sort of happened to me when I had a beard many years ago. People are not that observant, so a little change or even a big change may not be noticed. And that's really upsetting - not due to the lack of attention,
May 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Really top-shelf writing in both of these novellas—probing, gripping philosophical suspense stories reminiscent of Highsmith, du Maurier, Auster, Beckett, Camus, Kafka, and Dostoevsky; yet somehow more convincing in their premises (merely unlikely, if monstrous, in Class Trip; downright absurdist in Mustache) and in the description and deep exploration of their protagonists' interior states. Denial, gaslighting, the mental and emotional mechanisms of adaptation to an impossible and intolerably f ...more
Aug 21, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When writing a story, it is very difficult to make a good ending. This author knows how to end stories. It was genius how the author could grasp the thoughts of the insanity. I could not sleep after i finished, so I had to watch a movie afterwords to put me down. It was pi. I am still watching the movie, its noon and I keep watching pi, I just paused it for a second to let everyone know i finished reading the story.
Jan 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"the mustache" is one of the most disturbing stories i have ever read. it seems like the pinnacle of gaslighting, and even worse than most because he seems to have gaslit himself. i had to stop reading this story for a while because it disturbed me too much to finish it in one go, but finally gained the courage to finish it a bit later. terrifying. ...more
Maria Fitzpatrick
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy The Mustache very much. The class trip was just ok.
Matthew Pridham
Author Emmanuel Carrère’s existential mysteries engage with questions of identity and sanity in an elusive, compelling way, often seeming about to yield to a comprehensible solution before pulling back. The Mustache’s setup is so benign and absurd, it almost seems like the beginning of a joke: a man wakes up one morning and decides to shave off the mustache he’s worn most of his life. The problem? After he shaves, everyone in his life, including his wife and his best friends, insist he never had ...more
Sep 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These stories by Carrere were fabulous! The author is very crafty at building suspense and drawing you into his creepy stories in his clever and unpretentious style. The story The Moustache really gets under your skin as Carrere's protagonist tries desperately to discover what is real/ity in his life just as the reader attempts to do the same never quite trusting the protag.'s view of reality. This story made me think about the characteristics that define us and what would happen if these defini ...more
Apr 17, 2009 added it
Recommended to Leslie by: Janalyn!
Disorganized thoughts re: Class Trip (I did not read the second novel in this volume):

This is a book about imagined trauma: other folks’ trauma we absorb, trauma we anticipate without experiencing it.

Nicolas is perceptive, macabre and wimpy—the sort of child who whimpers aloud, feigns illness and hasn’t a shred of dignity. He has a grim imagination. He is spooky and spooked.

I admire how well Carrere ("the Stephen King of France") writes in the voice of a young child. He captures the tension Nic
Mar 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Its kind of like a French-risque--the main character has his first wet dream--version of Stephen King's "It" or "The Body"(Stand By Me-movie). Its written hyper-vividly in the perspective of this over-protected boy at a school weekend trip. He's a bullied, outcast, bed-wetter with this really gory imagination, and he has this private, after hours, hardy boys relationship with the popular kid, solving a missing child case going on in the area....Its borderline pedaphile fiction, really well-writt ...more
May 13, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Surrealists, people who aren't easily disturbed
I have finished "The Mustache" half and must say it's one of the most disturbing mental traps ever set to paper. The term Camus used to describe his own writing really applies here: existential terror. Class Trip is turning out to be a captivating read. The translation to english in the Picador edition is a bit blocky, but not too distracting. The stories may not change your life (one hopes), but they are a special kind of experience. I recommend reading each story in one sitting, it will only t ...more
Jul 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
Fabulous! I read The Mustache almost in one reading and adored the way it confused and shocked me. The way it mixed reality with lies and imagination with insanity was fantastic and really disturbing. Very elegantly written.

I've read Class Trip earlier which also deals with imagination and fear but from what I remember, it wasn't as thrilling as The Mustache.
Jill Polsby
Aug 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition it it false...what's real? Absolutely fascinating novella. Still don't know what was real if anything but could't put it down. Amazing that an author can construct such a mind play story. I guess the movie that was made from this is nowhere near as good but the very thought of someone making a movie of this.....especially the ending. ...more
Robert Mooney
Oct 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Two disturbing stories. Very, very well written. 'Class Trip' is good, slightly predictable, and incredibly sad. 'The Mustache' starts out slowly (maybe even a bit boring) but suddenly the floor drops out and you're on a fast slide into insanity. Did I mention the stories are disturbing? Not for everyone, these stories are for you. ...more
Oct 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Class Trip was sort of slow, but the Mustache is AMAZING!!! It also contains the most compelling case I've ever read for maintaining a bushy mustache (anything less could lead to death and disaster). ...more
Jan 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 02, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These two short novels compliment each other well, showing by turn Carrere's deep investigation into the psyche, sometimes blurring between reality, fantasy and madness. Both take unexpected turns that pull you in tighter into the minds of the main characters. Reminded me a bit of Auster. ...more
Jul 19, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. The Mustache was very intelligently crafted, and seemed like a textbook example of psychological horror. Class Trip was well done, too, but I didn't buy the denouement. Carrere is particularly good at writing anxious and paranoid interior monologue. ...more
Oct 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ed by: Bargain Bin at the Strand
A great read. The Class Trip captures perfectly the voice of a shy, awkward teen. The Moustache is a surprisingly exciting thriller about a man who shaves off his moustache and is alarmed to find that no one in his life remembers that he ever had one.
Jun 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Class Trip explored unlikely friendships and the sadness of being unwanted. It was an interesting story, but The Mustache is the master of twists and suspense with blurred lines between reality and paranoia in this collection.
Mark Broadhead
Both stories are missing elements. The narrator of The Mustache is too unreliable for anything to be taken seriously. The Class Trip finishes outside of itself, more like a short story than a novella should be expected to do.
Sep 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
These stories ooze slowly and with delirious intent from the mind. Two tales of vulnerability, paranoia and madness. Existential roller coasters of the mundane. If you've got a mustache don't shave it off ... but read this book. ...more
Jul 12, 2007 rated it really liked it
'The Mustache' is terrifying in so many ways. Read it and be terrified. Think about it afterwards and be more terrified. ...more
Oct 30, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Pepole who want to rape children or cut off thier faces
I like Class Trip much better than La Moustache.
May 11, 2008 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Picked this up shortly after a few friends and I watched a film version of "Class Trip", but I haven't motivated myself to actually read it yet. One day. ...more
Jun 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
disturbing and it was hard to determine what was real - I could not put it down.
Jul 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Well-paced; understated; slightly "off" characters. The stories are eerie as opposed to scary, and each ends with a chill that lingers. Best classified as "highbrow Stephen King." ...more
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Emmanuel Carrère is a French author, screenwriter, and director. He is the son of Louis Carrère d'Encausse and French historian Hélène Carrère d'Encausse.

Carrère studied at the Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris (better known as Sciences Po). Much of his writing, both fiction and nonfiction, centers around the primary themes of the interrogation of identity, the development of illusion, and the

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