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La Daronne

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  537 ratings  ·  63 reviews

Comment, lorsqu'on est une femme seule, travailleuse avec une vision morale de l'existence... qu'on a trimé toute sa vie pour garder la tête hors de l'eau tout en élevant ses enfants... qu'on a servi la justice sans faillir, traduisant des milliers d'heures d'écoutes téléphoniques avec un statut de travailleur au noir... on en arrive à franchir la ligne jaune ?

Kindle Edition, 176 pages
Published March 9th 2017 by Anne-Marie Métailié
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Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  537 ratings  ·  63 reviews

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Maureen Carden
I’m not sure where to begin or how to begin. Not my favorite book, but honesty compels me to give The Godmother at least four stars. Who knows, by the end of this review I might have changed my mind all over again. I am vacillating, which is something new to me. Maybe. Sometimes.
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. She
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: crime fiction fans, literary fans, fans of women's fiction
Lately I've been reading some wonderful slim novels in translation by women. And I'm loving them. This reminded me a bit of another gem I just read, Territory of Light. Only this is a crime novel. I don't read much in this genre, but the fact that it won France's most prestigious book crime prize drew me in. Plus the premise. The narrator herself is a translator of Jewish and Arab descent. Already you see the complexity.

Patience Portefeux (what a name!) translates Arabic communications fro
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Godmother is a quick read at less than 200 pages but it still has all the components needed for a great crime novel with an intriguing storyline and a captivating main character. What makes this book unique is its protagonist, Patience Portefeux. She stands out, among many other female crime novel characters, as a middle-aged woman working as a translator who is also a criminal. Patience is both intelligent and charming with her wry and darkly comedic observations of Paris and the drug trade ...more
Oct 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating book, translated from the French. Fairly short; action packed in places, great narrative arc of The Godmother's career and ingenuity and her life of crime after many years of struggle. Certainly includes some of the complexities of the colonial relationship between France & Algeria & the struggles leading to independence in the 60's. The fallout from that is part of the narratives in the French culture, although that may be fading as the people involved age.

There are places
An unusual book, which I’m ultimately ambivalent about. I loved that Patience took decisive action to alter her life’s circumstance. Yay. (Sure, it was illegal, but the poor woman was desperate.) The scenes and desperation regarding aged care rung very true, and so too the racism experienced by many communities. But there were some really odd bits - a boyfriend who just appeared three-quarters through without being mentioned earlier, lack of soul-searching about the impacts of her actions (a few ...more
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mmm. I always love a bitter narrator. It's hard not to see Isabelle Huppert as the Godmother here.
Jo Beth
Review: The Godmother by Hannelore Cayre, translated by Stephanie Smee

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 abo
Simonne Lambert
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very well written fast paced read - both exciting and witty. I found Patience so interesting, so likable (although she would disagree) and just so “French”. I could not put this book down. While the book is called “The Godmother”, that is only a part of her life. The book tells us about her childhood, her marriage and subsequent early widowhood when she is left with two young children. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I loved Patience. She had me chuckling a few times. Highly recommend ...more
Heather Fineisen
A well written story about a translator who speaks Arabic and her use of her skills to break in to the drug business. Faced with nursing home expenses for her mother and college fees for her daughter, the main character stumbles upon information during a translation job that leads her to a life of crime. Interesting premise although not entirely original. Well executed. The nursing home scenes were most creative.

Copy provided by the Publisher and NetGalley
“It took me a week to spot her [a nursing aide] because in old people’s houses, it’s like in hospitals and creches: almost all the employees working there are Blacks or Arabs. Racists of all sides, you’d better know that the first and the last person who will feed you with a spoon and wash your private parts is a woman you despise!”

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 no
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
This is delightful. Originally written in French, the translation is wonderful, very idiomatic including the slang of the drug dealers. (I have no idea what the original French was like, but presumably a similar raunchy low-life flavour.) The writing is spare, clean and often very amusing.

The story: a Parisian woman who is an expert in Arabic is hired by the courts and police to translate intercepted communications between various Tunisian and. Moroccan drug dealers. In the course of this work
David C Ward
Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice. A 50 year old woman on the edge of ruin - early death of her husband, mother in long term care, no pension or resources, two daughters - figures out how to use her knowledge as a police interpreter - a job she’s drudged at to keep her head above water - for a big score. The scam goes off like clockwork and Patience does some good along the way. Despite the breezy tone, there’s a sharp critique of contemporary society, especially the ‘war’ on drugs, geriatric care, and racism. It’s also goo ...more
Kris Fernandez-Everett
Ooh, what a caustic little book... I tried to read around the Prometheus allusions in places, went a bit off the rails with the Jewish and Muslim stereotypes, but did have to tip my hat to the clever, sly police novel at the heart of this little book. Probably should reread, when I’m more prepared for some of the more distasteful bits, in the original French...
Ben Chenoweth
Nov 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a short but fun exploration of the drug trade in France from the point of view of an Arabic translator working for the police who uses her position to become a drug dealer. The character is beautifully developed, with a detailed backstory and believable motivations. I look forward to the film version.
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Smart, sharp and very funny. The narrator/ protagonist pulls no punches in her devastating portrait of modern French sensibilities, but she also makes no effort to disguise her own biases and failings. Through it all, you are laughing and cheering for the self-styled godmother to pull it all off. One of a kind.
Louise (A Strong Belief in Wicker)
4/4.5 stars for this one. A fabulous work in translation. A disenfranchised grumpy old middle aged woman narrator. Not sure why I liked it so much.... I gobbled this one up in just two sessions, while on my sick bed.

David Watt
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A thoroughly enjoyable and quick thriller. Five stars.
Steve Angelkov
Great book.

Surprising how rich this story is, considering the no of pages.

Rich and dense storyline.
Diane Parsons
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-books
What a clever story, fascinating account of how a career in translating can lend itself to becoming a criminal. Although I never felt she was a criminal at all.
Nov 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Raised an eyebrow, I guess we all have to do what we need to to survive
Oct 23, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Abit slow but gets there in the end
Doug Wells
Good European crime reading. Didn't change my world, but a nice read
Cristie Underwood
Sometimes books that are translated from another language lose their appeal, but this one didn’t! Isabelle’s bitterness came through and the story captivated me.
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun short read. I enjoyed it. Great translation.
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A jewel of a read, sly humour, deft plotting, and I didn't sense that anything was lost in the translation the flow seemed effortless.
Claudia Small
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very enjoyable.
Nov 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good fun. Great character. Less of a crime thriller and more of an artful dodger good yarn. Very enjoyable.
Rebecca Zess
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Athene Alleck
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review will be published post-Bookclub!
J Grant
Oct 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Read the English translation on kindle. Enjoyed book but I not a fan of ereads
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