Neil's Reviews > The Eskimo Solution

The Eskimo Solution by Pascal Garnier
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bookshelves: 2016

I think that Pascal Garnier tried in this book to do something a bit different to his normal work. However, I am not quite sure it worked.

What Garnier does best is noir: darkly comic crime novels often with random and extreme acts of violence but always with some comedy (definitely black). In this book, he seems to try to do something more fancy.

What we have here is actually two short stories with one being written by the protagonist of the other who is an author. So, it’s a book within a book where we get to read the story created by Pascal Garnier and the story created by the author who is the main character in the story created by Garnier. Given that the main character in the story within the story is called Louis and so is the neighbour in the basic "outer" story, I think there’s an attempt to create confusion and, perhaps, make a point about the blurring of boundaries between fiction and reality.

But it isn’t actually all that confusing. For a start, the two different parts of the book are set out in different fonts. Then one is written in the first person and the other in the third person. This means that it is actually quite hard to get confused about the two stories. Which is a shame because I think that might be one of the main points of the book!

There’s still a lot of the trademark black humour and there is a reasonably high body count, which is what we expect in a Garnier novel. I just don’t think this is his best work, and that is perhaps because he tried to be clever instead of doing what he does (did) best. Overall, I’m disappointed by this short novella, but not so disappointed that I won’t read more of Garnier’s work: the other books I have read still tell me that it is worth reading more.

2.5 stars rounded up to 3 because it's Christmas and I'm feeling generous.
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Reading Progress

December 21, 2016 – Started Reading
December 21, 2016 – Shelved
December 22, 2016 – Finished Reading

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Neil It is fascinating reading through the comments by other reviewers here. Some say the author who writes the book within a book is called Louis, others say that he has no name. So clearly Garnier has succeeded in creating some confusion, which I think was his aim.

For the record, I believe the narrator is unnamed. He gives a false name at one point and questions himself about why he lied about his name, but his actual name is never, as far as I recall, revealed. If I were a betting man, I'd put my money on Pascal.

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