Robert Ronsson's Reviews > A Very Long Engagement

A Very Long Engagement by Sébastien Japrisot
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I came to this book having loved the film and seeking a light read after American Psycho. This turned out to be a challenging intellectual exercise but I enjoyed it nevertheless. Mathilde is an engaging(!) heroine not least because she charms everybody around her into helping her in what appears to be a hopeless quest.
We follow Mathilde into a befuddling maze of description and counter-description of what went on that fateful Sunday at the wonderfully named Bingo Crepuscule. (If you've seen the film and want to find out why the trench was so called you'll find the answer in the book.) There are five soldiers directly involved in the dreadful event and there are at least as many who are witnesses to the deed and its aftermath. Each of these characters has a plethora of Russian-style soubriquets and by the end of the book I'd given up trying to analyse the impact of each clue on Mathilde's progress towards a conclusion that we all knew was coming.
The end of the book is very well achieved with a perfectly judged degree of understatement in Mathilde's story and then a perfect postcript.
If you're looking for the blood and thunder of the film you will be disappointed.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
October 1, 2014 – Finished Reading
October 16, 2014 – Shelved

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