Inspiration for the major motion picture Mama Weed; translated from the international bestseller La Daronne, winner of the European Crime Fiction Prize and the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière, France’s most prestigious prize for crime fictionMeet Patience Portefeux, a fifty-three-year-old, underpaid Franco-Arab interpreter for the Ministry of Justice who specialize ...more
2020 Honorable Mention Read
Thank you to Netgalley and ECW press for an e-book in exchange for my honest review. The English tranlation was released in September 2019. This book has won both European and French Crime Fiction Awards.
This is a short novel that packs a whole lot of punch. It is immensely clever and frothy like the best made merengue but wait underneath is the richest darkest chocolate mousse that is still light but in its depth is ...more
My parents were crooks... They had lost everything... (c)
It seems that I am the last in the family line of adventurers. (c)
My endless summer had not begun at all how I had imagined it. (c)
The synaesthetic protagonist and all the other shebang are brilliant.
The situation with her elderly mother is patently horrible. Why we, as a society, fail our weakest citizens? We have nothing to offer the elderly, the weak, the disabled...
The family in question is very mindboggling. Along these lines: ...more
The life story of the widow Patience Portefeux is at times, amusing, other times poignant. Brought up in luxurious neglect for most of the year, Patience is the daughter of a Tunisian born Mafiosi and a camp survivor. S ...more
Patience Portefeux (what a name!) translates Arabic communications from drug ...more
Now this was a lovely surprise.
Widow Patience is not necessarily portrayed as a likable character, and honestly, she prefers it that way. Her children are not overly fond of her and her ailing mother is almost more than Patience can handle, emotionally and financially.
Because of Patience work as a translator for the courts she is in an ideal position to listen in on the most intimate conversations between targeted drug suspects. And just by “accident” she becomes the new owner of 1.2 t ...more
Truly, I have not come across such in quite some time. Years. Of course numbers of books holding heartfelt endearments or more kindness, oodles of pure wit or cleverness? Yes, some of those I have met may have been more erudite or melding for plot to characters. But not a one was this whip smart. And whip smart in this length and directness is an IDEAL read.
Brisk, clenched, dialect of one word which clinches more than 10 sentences. Just superb. "talk doesn't make rice"- I am all ...more
This book started well; the author spends a lot of time establishing her protagonist in an intriguing manner. Unfortunately, from then on out, the plot flits about like an amnesiac butterfly and I found myself losing interest in the protagonist, who se ...more
Patience Portefeux, fifty-three, an underpaid French-Arabic translator has run out of patience. She grew up with a criminal father who lost her family's wealth and died suddenly. Her husband, her one true love also died suddenly leaving her to deal with two children, a dying mother in a nursing home and no pension. An opportunity arises for Patience ...more
Wonderful gritty translated fiction by this French author with a background in criminal law.
This edition is translated by Stephanie Smee who also has a law background. She's been awarded the 2019 JQ Wingate Prize for No Place to Lay One's Head by Francoise Frenkel, so I might put that one on my reading list too. ...more
Unfortunately didn't like the style of writing. Cannot work it out is it style of writing or translation. Anyway one or the other, annoying!
On the positive side, I enjoyed the Arabic part of the story, the way how the main character learned Arabic and not only Arabic, lots of other useful things.
Also an unusual book.
The book was a Christmas present from my old friend, "a spy book lady". ...more
I wish to thank ECW Press and NetGalley for this advanced reader’s copy in return for my honest review.
I was interested in reading this book based on the description on the NetGalley site. I had high hopes. I was disappointed. The underlying story for The Godmother is a good one. The author took too long getting to this story. In fact, it took about 25% of the book before I was engaged at all. I was about to give up when the s ...more
This is the voice of Patience Portefeux, a 50 year old French woman of Tunisian/Viennese Jewish parents. The above excerpt relates to her mother who is now demented a ...more
At the centre of the story is Patience Portefeux, a single woman with two grown daughters, who earns her living translating police surveillance audio from Arabic to French. Her mother is in care, suffering from dementia. All she wants is to leave her daughters something and to make her own life a bit better. And if in the meantime, she can improve the life of some oth ...more
Started off ok and I enjoyed the intrigue of the protagonist, but then it just all went a bit bleh for me and it hurt my head.
I guess I just wasn’t that into it. 2 stars.
On t ...more
I LOVED LOVED LOVED this book. Simply unbelievable! The Godmother, what a woman! This made me feel like I was watching a French police procedural film, and now that I know it has, in fact, been made into a film starring Isabelle Huppert as The Godmother, it's almost beyond perfect. Seriously, this book absolutely blew me away. Completely original, unlike anything I have ever read in my life. The titular character, Patience Portefeux, is splendidly drawn ...more
Copy provided by the Publisher and NetGalley
Full of acerbic wit, hilarious social observations of ingrained racism, criminality and the treatment of the elderly in our modern society today. The story is quite fast paced and the writing superb, although that might be a testament of the translator as well. Legal translator quickly becomes crime queen after listening to them for years, with lots of laugh out loud funny antics. I look forward to reading more of this author.