Meredith's Reviews > Piers' Desire

Piers' Desire by Marianne Ackerman
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's review
May 18, 2010

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bookshelves: netgalley, thriller, france, reviewed, writing, arc, fiction

Piers Le Gris, a rather ascetic writer of pulp fiction, is boarding at widow Nelly Reboul's house in Avignon while researching his next novel. When Nelly's young niece, Magali, moves in, her presence upsets the precarious balance in the household. Her presence stirs up repressed desires (in Piers) and memories (in Nelly). It is her presence that forces various characters to confront what they would rather deny. She herself is entangled in a bizarre love triangle between stormy Moroccan Mouloud and the enigmatic Piers.

Piers' Desire is, above all else, an exploration of "hopeless love" (177). There is Mouloud's hopeless love for Magali, Nelly's hopeless love for Roland, and Piers' hopeless love for Magali. This is, to put in Magali's words, "a family with no history of love" (202). These characters find solace in one another, often substituting one for the other--as if people were interchangeable, as if some displaced outburst of sexual expression could fill the gnawing void left behind by unfulfilled obsession.

The writing broods, contemplates, philosophizes. It reminisces. Ackerman has managed, with relatively few words, to create a story that is simultaneously dreamlike, with frequent (sometimes jarring) shifts in perspective to keep the reader alert, and Gothic in mood. Dark obsessions and unresolved feeling preside here. The reader must pay close attention not to the climactic events of the story, but its strong undercurrents, which pull relentlessly at Piers, Magali, Nelly, and Mouloud.

(Disclaimer: I received the galley proofs of this title from McArthur & Company for review.)
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Reading Progress

May 18, 2010 – Shelved
May 18, 2010 – Shelved as: netgalley
May 18, 2010 – Shelved as: thriller
May 20, 2010 – Started Reading
May 21, 2010 – Shelved as: france
May 21, 2010 –
page 90
May 24, 2010 –
page 175
May 24, 2010 – Shelved as: reviewed
May 24, 2010 – Shelved as: writing
May 24, 2010 – Finished Reading
July 27, 2010 – Shelved as: arc
December 26, 2014 – Shelved as: fiction

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