Moon in a Dead Eye
Given the choice, Martial would have preferred not to leave their suburban Paris life, but with all their friends moving away, or dying, his wife Odette is thrilled at the idea of moving to Les Conviviales, a gated retirement village in the South of France.At first, Martial’s suspicions are confirmed. He and Odette are the only residents, and with the endless pouring rain, he is bored out of his mind. With the arrival of three new neighbours and a social secretary, Martial’s outlook improves, and he begins to settle in to his new life. But in this isolated community, tensions never simmer far below the surface, and the arrival of some gypsies who set up camp outside the gates throws the fragile harmony into disarray. Everything comes to a head one terrible night; the night that the moon is reflected in the watchman’s eye…

Moon in a Dead Eye Details

TitleMoon in a Dead Eye
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 12th, 2013
PublisherGallic Books
ISBN-139781908313492
Rating
GenreCultural, France, Fiction, Mystery, Crime, Noir, Novels, Contemporary, European Literature, French Literature, Suspense

Moon in a Dead Eye Review

  • Steven Godin
    January 1, 1970
    Shot through with surrealism this darkly farcical tale was a cracking little French read and centers on a fussy old couple who move into a brand new gated retirement village, they turn out to be the first ones there so it doesn't take long for boredom to set in. Then some new arrivals show up and things are looking more cozy as the group get to know each each other in their peaceful surroundings. But the tranquillity does not last and soon they are at each others throats, the days are getting ir Shot through with surrealism this darkly farcical tale was a cracking little French read and centers on a fussy old couple who move into a brand new gated retirement village, they turn out to be the first ones there so it doesn't take long for boredom to set in. Then some new arrivals show up and things are looking more cozy as the group get to know each each other in their peaceful surroundings. But the tranquillity does not last and soon they are at each others throats, the days are getting irritatingly hotter, some gypsies have set up camp outside their gates, and there is also something rather odd about their security guard, who may be hiding a dark personality. It was only a matter of time before they start to crack!. This reads as black comedy mostly and has some really funny dialogue where I was genuinely laughing out loud. It's never predictable and this only adds to it's unsettling nature. Your just waiting for things to kick off, and boy doesn't it just! As for the ending, mad and bad!Superb short novel, wickedly chilling, with a large helping of bone dry humour.
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  • John
    January 1, 1970
    Five elderly people move into a gated community, Les Conviviales, expecting that many others will follow. Instead, as the weeks and months go by, there are just empty houses. They have only themselves for company -- themselves and the inscrutable, rather threatening caretaker and the cheery social secretary. As we slowly discover, each of them -- with the possible exception of the social secretary -- is in his or her own way secretly quite bonkers. When a gypsy encampment arrives nearby, it's en Five elderly people move into a gated community, Les Conviviales, expecting that many others will follow. Instead, as the weeks and months go by, there are just empty houses. They have only themselves for company -- themselves and the inscrutable, rather threatening caretaker and the cheery social secretary. As we slowly discover, each of them -- with the possible exception of the social secretary -- is in his or her own way secretly quite bonkers. When a gypsy encampment arrives nearby, it's enough to stir up the various insanities to eventually lethal effect.Although the term "grim satire" is commonly used to describe this short novel, that's not the way it came across to me. I found it instead to be a wonderful Wodehousian farce (except I laughed a lot more at this than I usually do at Wodehouse), but a farce that manages to encompass, still as farce, some moments of tragedy and indeed a tragic conclusion. The funniest and most Wodehousian sequence for me was the one where Maxime, a lecherous cad and blithering idiot, tries to teach the reluctant Martial how to play golf. (Since it involves golf, I wondered if it might indeed be a Wodehouse homage.) Garnier's skill is such that he even tells you the outcome of this episode beforehand -- gives away the punchline, so to speak -- and yet it's still uproariously funny when it happens.I shouldn't forget to mention that Emily Boyce's translation is quite splendid.If you're in search of a tautly plotted piece of dark noir, then this probably isn't the place to look -- in fact, I'm sure that by this time next week I'll have forgotten most of the plot of Moon in a Dead Eye. But what I won't forget in a hurry is being in the company of these characters in the prison of their exclusive gated community, and the fun I had.
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  • Leah
    January 1, 1970
    The joys of ageing...When their city neighbourhood begins to change and all their elderly friends gradually retire to quieter places, or die, Odette and Martial decide it's time to buy a little retirement home in a gated community. Odette is keen to move, Martial less so. The community is newly built and Odette and Martial are the first couple to move in. Early impressions are hampered by the constant rain while, until more people move in, the swimming pool and clubhouse remain closed. But there The joys of ageing...When their city neighbourhood begins to change and all their elderly friends gradually retire to quieter places, or die, Odette and Martial decide it's time to buy a little retirement home in a gated community. Odette is keen to move, Martial less so. The community is newly built and Odette and Martial are the first couple to move in. Early impressions are hampered by the constant rain while, until more people move in, the swimming pool and clubhouse remain closed. But there is a caretaker, though given his creepiness that's a bit of a mixed blessing. However, things perk up a bit when another couple and then a single woman move in, and the clubhouse is finally opened complete with a social secretary to provide a bit of fun. Thrown together in this isolated place, all the residents quickly become friends. But then the gypsies arrive...I've had a bit of a mixed journey with Pascal Garnier so far. I enjoyed Boxes, loved The A26, and sadly wasn't very taken with this one at all. It follows the same kind of format as the others – set up the characters, put them in a slightly odd, isolated situation, then make some terrible things happen to them. The writing is as good as ever, the quirky characterisation is great and there's the same vein of humour, growing increasingly blacker as the novella progresses. Perhaps I've just read them too closely together, but I felt this one was rather like painting by numbers.The first bit of the book is great. The description of this couple trying to settle into their new lives rings very true. Martial in particular misses the busyness of his old home, where he knew everybody and only had to walk down the street to meet acquaintances. Now he finds it hard to find anything to fill his days. The story of their trip to the beach is a glorious piece of blackly comic writing – the wind at their back as they walk giving them a sensation of energy and vitality, till they have to turn and come back against the same wind whipping away their breath and leaving them shattered and exhausted. It's a great picture of people trying to come to terms with the fact that ageing is taking its toll on what they're physically able to do, and nicely satirical about all those pictures of happy, energetic retirees in the sunshine that populate brochures for these kinds of communities. Unfortunately, when the horrors begin, they simply didn't ring true for me. The actual events didn't justify the paranoia and, avoiding spoilers, the character change of the person who does the deed was too sudden and not well enough supported. The whole thing also turned on a plot device that I couldn't believe in – namely, that if the electricity got cut off the electric gates to the community couldn't be opened manually. There is also a piece of totally unnecessary and gruesome animal cruelty, which never works for me. And finally, the ending depends on such a hugely unlikely coincidental event that it lost any remaining credibility.I know many people have loved this as one of Garnier's best, so I'm certainly willing to assume that the problems I encountered with it are a result of too recent comparison with the others I've read. Certainly his writing, aided by an excellent translation by Emily Boyce, is as good as ever and I did enjoy the early part of the novella a good deal. But the plot didn't work for me this time round, I'm afraid. I have two other novellas of his on my Kindle, but I think I'll leave a good long gap this time to try to avoid that feeling of sameness that I found with this one. Tricky, when I'm being rather negative, but I do still recommend this – I suspect with these novellas everyone will find they have different favourites, but all the ones I've read so far have been well worth the reading, especially if you're more skilled at suspending disbelief than I am. 3½ stars for me, so rounded up.NB This book was provided for review by the publisher, Gallic Books.www.fictionfanblog.wordpress.com
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  • Pia
    January 1, 1970
    This is another amazing-awesome-creepy-horrible book by Pascal Garnier.Five people move into Les Conviviales, a retirement community in France. Of the 50 houses that are supposed to be sold, only 3 are occupied and there's no sign any more will be. The cast of characters is comprised by the residents: Odette & Martial the dumpy couple- Maxime & Marlene the trendy couple & Léa, Mr. Flesh the caretaker and Nadine the "social coordinator", an ex hippie who is always high on pot.The clos This is another amazing-awesome-creepy-horrible book by Pascal Garnier.Five people move into Les Conviviales, a retirement community in France. Of the 50 houses that are supposed to be sold, only 3 are occupied and there's no sign any more will be. The cast of characters is comprised by the residents: Odette & Martial the dumpy couple- Maxime & Marlene the trendy couple & Léa, Mr. Flesh the caretaker and Nadine the "social coordinator", an ex hippie who is always high on pot.The closeness is overwhelming, as is the atmosphere in the book, but they all seem to be getting along quite fine, at least as much as you can get on when friendship is forced on you because of the circumstances. That is, until Mr. Flesh tells them to be careful of the gypsies that settle during the Summer near to Les Conviviales, and from that point, everything spirals downward. Starting with Marlene, who won't leave the community alone for fear of the gypsies, to Martial, who suddenly realizes he has lived a very boring life, and Maxime who being the big narcissist he is, thinks he has the solution to the problem, which happens to be a gun. The ending is unexpected, to say the least!The writing, as is the norm with Pascal Garnier, is perfect and so is the translation.I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review
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  • Kathy
    January 1, 1970
    What a writer he was! This book is a highly entertaining look at retirement...the bright side and the dark side.Odette and Martial are the first couple to move in to a new retirement community. There was nothing but rain and nothing to do at first."Odette felt like learning something, but she wasn't sure what. Italian, ikebana, yoga, belly dancing, Turkish cookery, surgery -- anything, as long as it was new!"Eventually the community grew, adding another married couple. Then a single woman. And t What a writer he was! This book is a highly entertaining look at retirement...the bright side and the dark side.Odette and Martial are the first couple to move in to a new retirement community. There was nothing but rain and nothing to do at first."Odette felt like learning something, but she wasn't sure what. Italian, ikebana, yoga, belly dancing, Turkish cookery, surgery -- anything, as long as it was new!"Eventually the community grew, adding another married couple. Then a single woman. And there were dinners with drinks and soon they got the management to open their clubhouse for expanded socializing."Armed with a long-handled net, Monsieur Flesh was clearing the swimming pool of the insects that had come to drown there during the night."Monsieur Flesh alerts the residents to the danger of the gypsies down the road and one of the men decides having a gun at his side was the reasonable thing to do. Of course there will be death as a new thing to experience for this group.
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  • Richard
    January 1, 1970
    Another very entertaining, grimly humorous Garnier book. Lots of excellent lines (like Simenon, Garnier has a remarkable knack for perfectly concise similes) and memorable scenes. There are parts that could have been developed more but that's a minor complaint. Hopefully one day he will write his own romans dur.
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  • Chris
    January 1, 1970
    I have read quite a few of Pascal Garnier’s short (novella sized) crime stories. Gallic Noir tales full of gallows humor, unsavory characters, and shocking plot twists. The problem is there are only about 10 or so translated out of his 60 plus works. I have been savoring them. After Moon in a Dead Eye I only have one left and am constantly hoping that a new set of translations will arrive at some time. Garnier, to provide a reference, has a style that can be likened to a cross between James Elro I have read quite a few of Pascal Garnier’s short (novella sized) crime stories. Gallic Noir tales full of gallows humor, unsavory characters, and shocking plot twists. The problem is there are only about 10 or so translated out of his 60 plus works. I have been savoring them. After Moon in a Dead Eye I only have one left and am constantly hoping that a new set of translations will arrive at some time. Garnier, to provide a reference, has a style that can be likened to a cross between James Elroy and James M. Cain. Obviously he is an original in his own right, but that gives a new reader an idea. In my opinion he is required reading for anyone who enjoys mystery/crime fiction and is a master level noir writer. Garnier is so dark and twisted (at least his stories are!) that he can take a concept like a retirement community and turn it into something sinister and foreboding. As with most of his stories the characters (fully realized and completely believable characters) are damaged with secrets and hidden agendas that eat away at their peace of mind and color their actions. You can also be sure that no matter how idyllic the situation, very soon (these are novellas so the action comes on fast) the crap is going to hit the fan and the whole thing will wind up getting darker by the minute.I only have one Garnier book left and am desperately waiting more translations. He is as good as it gets when it comes to noir/crime novelists, in my opinion.
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  • Deborah
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsOK, I admit it: I lied. When I reviewed Pascal Garnier's The A26, I said that next up would be Boxes, also translated by Melanie Florence, but it just didn't sound as deliciously dark as Moon in a Dead Eye. The latter proved to be just as satisfying as it sounded. Garnier had a remarkable ability to get to the dark underbellies of everyday people in a way which feels so organic to the characters that not only the reader, but the characters themselves are surprised by the depths to which 4.5 starsOK, I admit it: I lied. When I reviewed Pascal Garnier's The A26, I said that next up would be Boxes, also translated by Melanie Florence, but it just didn't sound as deliciously dark as Moon in a Dead Eye. The latter proved to be just as satisfying as it sounded. Garnier had a remarkable ability to get to the dark underbellies of everyday people in a way which feels so organic to the characters that not only the reader, but the characters themselves are surprised by the depths to which they willingly sink. Emily Boyce's translation was beautiful, with none of the incongruities which so distracted me in Florence's take on The A26.Literary noir seems to be making quite a comeback, with Akashic's Noir Series anthologies leading the charge. None of Garnier's work is included in the two French anthologies thus far (Paris Noir and Marseille Noir), however, so kudos once again to Gallic Books for bringing his unique voice to the attention of English-speaking readers.I received a free copy of Moon in a Dead Eye through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Jane
    January 1, 1970
    3.5/5. Quick, fast-paced read at only 127 pp. -- a mixture of mystery, black humor, surrealism and psychological studies of several old people in a newly-minted gated community. We get to know each one and their foibles intimately. Spare prose with terse dialogue. Recommended.
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  • Dale
    January 1, 1970
    Loved this one, my third? Funny, grotesque, disorienting. Dry, fast psychological horror.
  • Guy
    January 1, 1970
    “Yes, it was like living on holiday, the only difference being that holidays came to an end. It was as though they had bought themselves a ticket to the afterlife; they no longer had a future.”In Moon in a Dead Eye, Martial and Odette Sudre retire from Paris to Les Conviviales, a retirement community in the Midi. Concerned about the increased violence in their Parisian neighbourhood, the retirement community seemed to be the ideal alternative–especially when the estate agent told them that they “Yes, it was like living on holiday, the only difference being that holidays came to an end. It was as though they had bought themselves a ticket to the afterlife; they no longer had a future.”In Moon in a Dead Eye, Martial and Odette Sudre retire from Paris to Les Conviviales, a retirement community in the Midi. Concerned about the increased violence in their Parisian neighbourhood, the retirement community seemed to be the ideal alternative–especially when the estate agent told them that they “exactly fitted the owner profile the property company was seeking.” It was a hard-pressure sell, and Martial and Odette, narcotized by the thought they’d be surrounded by people just like them, signed on the dotted line….Now, three months later, it’s December and Martial and Odette arrive to discover that they are the sole inhabitants of the community. True, there’s Monsieur Flesh, a caretaker-manager, a surly antisocial type, but what happened to all the other promised residents, the activities director, the sunny weather? But not to worry… there’s another couple due to arrive in March or April. Martial and Odette are like shipwreck survivors washed up in a ghost town. Odette, the one who pushed for the move in the first place, refuses to be unhappy with their decision to move, so she throws herself into her new life and hobbies which is probably just as well as there’s nothing else to do. First she starts making crappy apple jelly, and then moves on to torturing her husband with culinary ‘surprises’ from around the world. Imagine how thrilled they are when someone else finally moves in. Maxime (with his false teeth and dyed black hair) and former ballerina Marlene Node, another retired couple of course, move in up the street. From a distance the Nodes seem younger than the Sudres, but up close, it’s a different story. If these two couples met elsewhere, they’d instinctively avoid one another, but if there are only four of you living inside a gated community, you don’t have a choice but to become friends. They engaged in the customary small talk for a quarter of an hour, all the while studying each other closely out of the corners of their eyes, like naturalists examining a newly discovered species.So now we have 4 people, 2 couples in this forced friendship created by circumstance. Then a fifth person moves, a younger, single woman named Léa. By this point, the other four residents are desperate for a new face:She had been a little taken aback to find the four of them on her doorstep. The removal men had only just left and she had barely had time to get her breath back. They stood there smiling like Jehovah’s witnesses, the tall one especially, Maxime Node. He was the one who introduced everybody, showing them off as though trying to get a good price for them. Then they all began talking at once, each of them impressing on her their willingness to help. They didn’t seem like bad people, but they still frightened her a bit. Too eager, too smiley, too many outstretched hands … so old and wrinkled it was hard to tell whether they were grasping or giving.A gated community exists to keep out the riff-raff, and the residents who buy into such an arrangement are happy with that idea. M. Flesh is there to make sure that the outside world doesn’t creep in and intrude on their fabricated middle-class isolation, but the lengths he goes to are extreme. Plus then there’s the whole gate part of ‘gated community.’ At what point do you become locked in instead of the world being locked out? When gypsies move in and set up an encampment down the road outside of Les Conviviales, paranoia reigns and all hell breaks loose. Moon in a Dead Eye is savagely hilarious, and most of the humour comes from snobbery & paranoia. Garnier doesn’t spare his characters; they’re a sad lot whose empty lives become worse when they move into this gated community. Aging lothario Maxime sees the poor as “vermin” infesting society, and when he’s inside a gated community with people in his own economic sphere, he can only associate with a couple in his peer group. In theory this should comfort Maxime, but the isolation only fuels his paranoia. Maxime finds the company of people his own age disconcerting as he’s spent the last few years denying the fact that he’s aging, and he spends a considerable amount of time and energy to disguising, unsuccessfully, his age. Living in a retirement community just confirms the fact that Maxime is no longer young, and this fuels his feeling of exposure and vulnerability. The ‘security’ of the gated community feeds the paranoia gnawing at Maxime until any difference seems unacceptable and threatening.While in the past in Orléans, feeling as though he lived a life under siege, Maxime carried a revolver, but he’s no more secure now–especially after the gypsies appear. They’re just more people who according to Maxime are “out to get us and take our things.” Living in isolation, even in a place that theoretically safe, hasn’t done Maxime any favours. They had been burgled three times in recent years. The residential neighbourhood of Orléans where they had lived for many moons had become a prime target for the scum who came in from the outlying boroughs. Nothing could stop them, not the most sophisticated alarm systems or the patrols that took place day and night. They were everywhere and nowhere, gnawing away like vermin at the foundations of the stable, quiet life people had worked so hard to build.Living in this retirement community is a sort of living-death, a hibernation phase just prior to the permanence of death. Garnier shows how this sort of isolation is unhealthy and contributes to the idea that any sort of difference (class, wealth) feeds paranoia. Although the subject matter is different from the dying hitman of How’s the Pain and the disaffected killer inThe Panda Theory, once again I’m reminded of Jean-Pierre Manchette, probably because of Garnier’s merciless view of the bourgeoisie.
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  • Mary Lou
    January 1, 1970
    Martial and Odette move from the Paris suburbs to a gated retirement community. Things aren’t quite as they planned; they are the first owners in the new development, the weather in the region is poor and with no sign of the community centre and events co-ordinator, time hangs heavily on their hands.With the arrival of couple Maxime and Marlene, a single woman Lea and some better weather, things start to look up. But when some gypsies set up camp nearby, this seems to act as a catalyst for chang Martial and Odette move from the Paris suburbs to a gated retirement community. Things aren’t quite as they planned; they are the first owners in the new development, the weather in the region is poor and with no sign of the community centre and events co-ordinator, time hangs heavily on their hands.With the arrival of couple Maxime and Marlene, a single woman Lea and some better weather, things start to look up. But when some gypsies set up camp nearby, this seems to act as a catalyst for change, as all the insecurities and eccentricities of the residents start to surface and intensify.This is glorious writing, the translation does not intrude, and the story descends rapidly into blacker and blacker horror and humour.This is my first Pascal Garnier – I should not have left it so long.
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  • Cleo Bannister
    January 1, 1970
    If you like your humour dark and fuelled by a savage turn of phrase, this short book will most likely suit your needs perfectly.In this short novel Pascal Garnier turns his attentions to the elderly and those who are acquainted with his style realise that nothing good can come of Martial and Odette Sudre move to a gated retirement village. Odette is keen on the idea of living a life-like being on holiday each day of the year whereas Martial is a little more circumspectAll those years spent dogge If you like your humour dark and fuelled by a savage turn of phrase, this short book will most likely suit your needs perfectly.In this short novel Pascal Garnier turns his attentions to the elderly and those who are acquainted with his style realise that nothing good can come of Martial and Odette Sudre move to a gated retirement village. Odette is keen on the idea of living a life-like being on holiday each day of the year whereas Martial is a little more circumspectAll those years spent doggedly accumulating a thousand little habits from which to spin a cosy cocoon of existence on first-name terms with the newsagent, butcher and baker, going to the market on Saturday morning and taking the Sunday stroll up to Mont Valerien… Then one by one, their neighbours had retired to the Loire valley, Brittany, Cannnes… or the cemetery.But as Odette becomes seduced by talk of a clubhouse and a pool the pair move in. The pair were the first of the residents to move into the village and the winter months was a bit of a lonely one as well as a time to acclimatise. For the moment, it was closed, and they had not yet met nor even caught sight of the social secretary. Not that Martial was overly concerned. In fact, he was somewhat dreading the opening of the clubhouse. He had no desire to take part in pancake-tossing competitions with people he did not know.I liked Martial!After a long winter with Odette buying items for the new house and cooking culinary surprises they are keen to form a welcoming committee when a new couple move in; Maxime and Marlene Node, finally instead of imagining the new neighbours they could meet them for real! Perhaps mindful of the dreary winter they soon share food, drink and outings together. And then a new single woman is rumoured to be moving into the complex and Maxime for one is keen to impress.Maxime was striking toreador poses. Chest puffed out, belly sucked in, fists clenched beside his hips, he held his breath for long enough to tell himself he still looked pretty good for a man his age. As his muscles relaxed, the skin sagged on his hunched skeleton like an oversized garment. He shrugged his shoulders and began to shave.Léa moves in, and her new inquisitive neighbours show up on her doorstep as soon as the removal men left keen to see how their new neighbour would fit into the community. With savage humour Garnier exposes each of the characters for the shallow beings they are, have always been, the difference being, in real life there are distractions from yourself, in a gated community with a scarcity of people, the owners of these shallow characteristics become more aware of them, as well as being irritated by those of others.A thoroughly enjoyable look at snobbery and aging while you can’t fail to miss the underlying suspense, the feeling that something awful is about to befall these poor misguided folk. To find out what that is, you’ll have to read the book for yourself!I am very grateful to the publishers Gallic Books who gave me a copy of this book which I exchange for this, my honest opinion and have to praise the skill of the translator, Emily Boyce, who made me forget that it wasn’t originally written in English.
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  • Liz Barnsley
    January 1, 1970
    A short but beautiful and quirky read, "Moon in a Dead Eye" follows a group of elderly people as they move into a gated community, hoping for the good life in the sun. Unfortunately it doesnt quite live up to expectations - as a new build there are only two couples and one single lady living there - and the social activities advertised are not forthcoming as hoped. A social secretary finally arrives and things begin to look up. But of course, with a tight knit group such as this there are always A short but beautiful and quirky read, "Moon in a Dead Eye" follows a group of elderly people as they move into a gated community, hoping for the good life in the sun. Unfortunately it doesnt quite live up to expectations - as a new build there are only two couples and one single lady living there - and the social activities advertised are not forthcoming as hoped. A social secretary finally arrives and things begin to look up. But of course, with a tight knit group such as this there are always going to be unseen tensions...I adored this book but I am finding it quite difficult to say why exactly. It was just, well, GOOD! It kind of meanders along as you get to know each individual person and their foibles, and a lot of the book is really just how they settle in, react to each other and to their new surroundings and what they do to pass the time. The author however somehow manages to impart a sense of menace....like something is hovering just beneath the surface that you can't quite put your finger on. Ok so the caretaker is a somewhat sinister character but that in and of itself is not all of it. So I'd say its clever writing. Pascal Garnier definitely had an eye to the ironic...and he also managed a fair bit of humour.. still you felt all the way through that perhaps something was coming.Was something coming? Well you will have to read it to find out. And I would say do so if you want something a little different and unexpected, but also purely for the genius of the writing. The turn of phrase and the way it flows is terrific. Perhaps not a book I would normally have picked up I am grateful to the publisher for sending me a copy to review. Otherwise I might have missed out and that would NEVER do.
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  • Rich Meyer
    January 1, 1970
    Every now and then I venture out from the safe little pulp adventures I usually read and attempt something that might actually be considered "literature" by the hoi-polloi. I had received a copy of Moon in a Dead Eye from a Goodreads giveaway last year and it finally made it to the top of the To-Be-Read pile (well, shelf now, actually). I have to say that after reading the indicia, I didn't hold out much hope: The book's translated from the French, and given the Franco-centric isolationism of th Every now and then I venture out from the safe little pulp adventures I usually read and attempt something that might actually be considered "literature" by the hoi-polloi. I had received a copy of Moon in a Dead Eye from a Goodreads giveaway last year and it finally made it to the top of the To-Be-Read pile (well, shelf now, actually). I have to say that after reading the indicia, I didn't hold out much hope: The book's translated from the French, and given the Franco-centric isolationism of that culture, I wondered if this would even be readable by a mere American. For once, my expectations were pleasantly wrong; this was both a well-written novel and a very interesting story. And, even better, it began to take some incredibly bizarre twists and turns on the final chapters, culminating in a very weird ending for a "normal" book. That ending is why I gave this book four stars instead of five, since I just didn't see some of the motivations for some of the characters to do what they did. I'm a person who relishes the weird, but there's got to be some rationality behind it, or it isn't weird - just ... odd. This was a refreshing change of pace, and it's good to see that the French government's cultural edicts aren't making all literature there too French for the rest of the world!
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    When Martial and Odette move to a newly built retirement village in the south of France they are the first to arrive. They are eagerly awaiting their new neighbors, wondering who will move in next. Initially, all is well when Maxime and Marlène arrive. But will a retirement paradise become a retirement hell? Only Garnier will tell. This books is short but brilliant. It manages to say so much about the human condition. The characters are pitch perfect, the atmosphere moves from light to dark and When Martial and Odette move to a newly built retirement village in the south of France they are the first to arrive. They are eagerly awaiting their new neighbors, wondering who will move in next. Initially, all is well when Maxime and Marlène arrive. But will a retirement paradise become a retirement hell? Only Garnier will tell. This books is short but brilliant. It manages to say so much about the human condition. The characters are pitch perfect, the atmosphere moves from light to dark and the location is telling. If this is any indication of Pascal Garnier's other work, I can't wait to read more.Thanks to NetGalley and Gallic Books for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Stephen Goldenberg
    January 1, 1970
    I read this in the original French not to show off but because I'm trying to improve my French and it seemed a very short and accessible novel. I'd also read good things about the writer. And it was a very entertaining read even if I found the French quite challenging because it relies a lot on subtle characterisation and dark humour which don't always translate easily.It builds tension well and is very funny in places. If you're about to retire, it's a timely warning of what not to do with your I read this in the original French not to show off but because I'm trying to improve my French and it seemed a very short and accessible novel. I'd also read good things about the writer. And it was a very entertaining read even if I found the French quite challenging because it relies a lot on subtle characterisation and dark humour which don't always translate easily.It builds tension well and is very funny in places. If you're about to retire, it's a timely warning of what not to do with your retirement. It's only weakness is an unnecessarily over the top ending.
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  • Bayneeta
    January 1, 1970
    Okay, not sure what I was expecting, more suspense maybe, but this wasn't it. Short, short book--127 pages. Five retirees in a new retirement village plus one unpleasant caretaker and an event coordinator who comes in once a week. The weather heats up as do the tempers and the individual oddities begin to mount. Georges Simenon and Patricia Highsmith have been mentioned, but I think J.G. Ballard is more like it.
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  • Ed
    January 1, 1970
    Fast read. French noir. Very fun.
  • Jane
    January 1, 1970
    What a great little book! A most original story with superb characterization... Tres drole & tres noir. Thanks to GR friends I have discovered this writer. Will definitely read more.
  • Jonathan
    January 1, 1970
    Hell IS other people.Do not read if you're planning your retirement or you're fond of cats.
  • C B
    January 1, 1970
    I love to start a Garnier novel on a weekend day and finish it 2 or 3 hours later. Generally very lean and engrossing narratives, Gallic noir drawing in "ordinary" people.This is well worth reading, but is the weakest of his that I've read so far. Oddly the reason is that this scenario needs MORE time to work properly, to have the onset of madness really make an impression.
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  • Conway Herzog
    January 1, 1970
    A short, dark humorous novel. As with all of Pascal Garnier's work, it is a pleasure to read his dark view of humanity. As five elderly people move into a "retirement community", you begin to see them all slowly losing reality with life.
  • Mikee
    January 1, 1970
    Garnier writes these strange eerie little books. They are almost all wondrous. This is one of them.
  • Seth Lynch
    January 1, 1970
    A very dry, excellent read. A little short but long enough to tell the story
  • JacquiWine
    January 1, 1970
    Having enjoyed the slightly surreal dark humour of a couple of Pascal Garnier’s other books, The A26 and How’s the Pain?, I was keen to read more by this author. And when I saw Guy Savage’s review of Moon in a Dead Eye, I knew I had to try this one.Moon in a Dead Eye is set in Les Conviviales, a secure gated community in the South of France. In the opening pages of this novella, we meet Martial and Odette Sudre, recent arrivals at the community lured there by the promise of ‘a fresh approach to Having enjoyed the slightly surreal dark humour of a couple of Pascal Garnier’s other books, The A26 and How’s the Pain?, I was keen to read more by this author. And when I saw Guy Savage’s review of Moon in a Dead Eye, I knew I had to try this one.Moon in a Dead Eye is set in Les Conviviales, a secure gated community in the South of France. In the opening pages of this novella, we meet Martial and Odette Sudre, recent arrivals at the community lured there by the promise of ‘a fresh approach to retirement’, activities at the village clubhouse and a life in the sunshine. Trouble is, as the first residents to move into Les Conviviales, Martial and Odette find themselves rattling around with little to occupy their rain-soaked days. The only other occupant is Monsieur Flesh, the rather creepy caretaker-manager. In fact, the whole place has the eerie atmosphere of a graveyard, a mood augmented by the clinical, almost sanitised feel inside the couple’s bungalow:Everything had that box-fresh, plastic smell. Fair enough, it was practical, everything worked as it should, but it was like living in a hotel. (pg. 8, Gallic Books)Through the window, the row of TV aerials stretched off into the distance like crosses in the cemetery. We’ve bought ourselves a plot to lie in… (pg. 11)Martial was none too keen to move in the first place, but now they’re here, Odette is determined to make the best of things. She furnishes their bungalow with all manner of mismatched tat and yearns to find new hobbies, ‘anything as long as it’s new!’A month or so slips by, and finally another retired couple – Maxime and Marlène Node – arrive at Les Conviviales and the Sudres are dying to make their acquaintance:Madame Node’s girlish figure appeared at the end of the hallway, but as she walked the few steps to the door with her hand outstretched before her, she gained the full weight of her years. She was still slim and trim, but the spots on her skin (which seemed to have undergone a facelift or two) made her look like a withered reinette apple.‘Oh, how kind of you to come! Marlène. How do you do?’It was extraordinary how Maxime Node could talk whilst still displaying his dazzling array of teeth. (pg. 17)The Nodes have come to this gated community for a variety of reasons: a decline in Maxime’s health despite his deluded belief that he still looks pretty dashing for a man of his age; an increase in crime and burglaries in the Node’s Orléans neighbourhood; a sense of feeling under threat in their own home.To read the rest of my review, please click here:https://jacquiwine.wordpress.com/2014...
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  • Gloria Feit
    January 1, 1970
    This was a strange book, in a good way, I hasten to add! Very unlike most others I’ve read, either recently or not so recently. It begins in a most charming manner, introducing the reader to Martial and Odette Sudre, retired professionals married over 40 years and now entering a new phase of their lives, leaving Suresnes, “the Parisian suburb they had called home for more than twenty years” to move to Les Conviviales. a retirement village in the Midi, boasting “an active life in the sunshine [wh This was a strange book, in a good way, I hasten to add! Very unlike most others I’ve read, either recently or not so recently. It begins in a most charming manner, introducing the reader to Martial and Odette Sudre, retired professionals married over 40 years and now entering a new phase of their lives, leaving Suresnes, “the Parisian suburb they had called home for more than twenty years” to move to Les Conviviales. a retirement village in the Midi, boasting “an active life in the sunshine [where] you’re protected and secure, with a dedicated caretaker-manager on site 365 days of the year.” Initially they find Les Conviviales a bit disconcerting: “There was something a bit strange about all these houses that looked the same, though; it felt like ringing their own doorbell.”The first and only residents of the complex for the first month, the Sudres are soon joined by Maxime and Marlene Node, a couple of similar background who had lived in the residential neighborhood of Orleans, and then by Lea, a single woman who the others speculate may be a widow. Monsieur Gerard Flesh, the aforementioned caretaker, and ultimately Nadine, the 45-yeyar-old woman hired to organize the activities and run the clubhouse and who finds a bit of cannabis soothing, round out the residents. “It made Martial smile. For the time being, there were still just the five of them, with no new arrivals on the cards. They weren’t exactly fighting for space in the pool. In fact, it was starting to feel a bit weird, all the empty houses.” But they all have their little quirks. Maxime, for example, feels comforted with his gun behind the cushions of his wheelchair. The atmosphere changes soon, however, with the appearance just beyond the gates of caravans of gypsies, apparently an annual event, and a sense of unease sets in, the residents’ sense of isolation suddenly seeming threatening.Pascal Garnier, prize-winning author of over 60 books [of which this was the third published in the US], was born in Paris in 1949 and passed away in 2010. Next up for this reviewer is his The Front Seat Passenger, which was published by Gallic Books in the US in September of 2014, to which I am greatly looking forward. Recommended.
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  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    Es bräuchte Stärke, sehr viel Stärke, um uns einzugestehen, dass wir vor unseren Fehlern und Schwächen nicht einfach fliehen können; Stärke zuzugeben, dass vieles im Leben vielleicht nur ein Kompromiß, vielleicht sogar eine Lüge war.Wie attraktiv dagegen die Vorstellung, den Lebensabend in einem geschützten Bereich in der Idylle Südfrankreichs mit Gleichgesinnten zu verbringen, nichts als Sonne und Frohsinn.Fünf der Protagonisten in MOON IN A DEAD EYE sind diesem Reiz erlegen und haben in einer Es bräuchte Stärke, sehr viel Stärke, um uns einzugestehen, dass wir vor unseren Fehlern und Schwächen nicht einfach fliehen können; Stärke zuzugeben, dass vieles im Leben vielleicht nur ein Kompromiß, vielleicht sogar eine Lüge war.Wie attraktiv dagegen die Vorstellung, den Lebensabend in einem geschützten Bereich in der Idylle Südfrankreichs mit Gleichgesinnten zu verbringen, nichts als Sonne und Frohsinn.Fünf der Protagonisten in MOON IN A DEAD EYE sind diesem Reiz erlegen und haben in einer eingezäunten, kameraüberwachten Wohnanlage ihren Wohnsitz genommen. Was könnte sie hindern, glücklich und harmonisch in den Tag hineinzuleben?Pascal Garnier konfrontiert seine Figuren mit der Unmöglichkeit, unter einer Glasglocke glücklich zu sein; manche Gefahren sind real greifbar, andere deuten sich in großartigen Metaphern an.Der Zaun und der kräftige Hausmeister mögen den Zigeunern den Zutritt versperren, aber die persönlichen Unzulänglichkeiten lassen sich nicht aussperren. Pseudosicherheit trifft auf Pseudobedrohung.Düster, zugleich aber auch in verschiedenen Schattierungen witzig, von lustig über ironisch bis zynisch, erzählt Garnier vom Scheitern seiner Figuren und einer Wohnsiedlung, die niemals werden sollte, was sie versprach. Seine Sprache ist knapp, seine Metaphern eigenständig und eindringlich. Dem Sog dieses sehr kurzen Romans konnte ich mich nicht entziehen, allerdings wäre hinsichtlich der Bewerbung des Büchleins doch etwas richtig zu stellen:Als "noir" könnte man den Text durchaus bezeichnen, allerdings handelt es sich nicht um eine Krimi a la Hammett, Chandler & Co. Auf eine ganz falsche Fährte wird der Leser durch ein Zitat auf dem Buchumschlag gelenkt, wonach Tarantino als Vorbild angesehen werden könne. Ich musste sehr viel eher an T.C. Boyles "America" und an Camus "Der Fremde" denken.
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  • Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of Moon In A Dead Eye from its publishers, Gallic Books, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.My first Pascal Garnier novel, The Panda Theory, was absolutely brilliant and I hoped for a similarly wonderful read again. Moon In A Dead Eye starts out well. Retired couple Martial and Odette have given up their suburban Parisian home for a newly-built house in a retirement complex in the sunny south of France. They are looking forward to making new friends through the pro I received a copy of Moon In A Dead Eye from its publishers, Gallic Books, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.My first Pascal Garnier novel, The Panda Theory, was absolutely brilliant and I hoped for a similarly wonderful read again. Moon In A Dead Eye starts out well. Retired couple Martial and Odette have given up their suburban Parisian home for a newly-built house in a retirement complex in the sunny south of France. They are looking forward to making new friends through the promised social activities and lazing by the pool. Except the pool hasn't been filled yet, no one else has arrived and the rain is constant. Garnier sets up this scenario perfectly and his practically empty complex reminded me of the estate of unsold houses in The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan.Eventually more people do move in - another couple and a single woman. Garnier understands his characters well and I enjoyed reading their interactions. Social club organiser Nadine is fun and there is definitely something a bit weird about the caretaker! For me, Moon In A Dead Eye was great up until this point. Then, when gypsies parking up nearby causes increased worry and paranoia amongst the residents, I thought that too many events happened too swiftly with the result being unbelievable and farcical. Perhaps a slower reveal in a longer book would be more convincing, or a stage adaptation as a real farce, but within the confines of this novella I thought it all too over the top.See more of my book reviews on my blog, Stephanie Jane
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  • Pascale
    January 1, 1970
    This macabre tale is vintage Garnier. The set is a desolate new development intended for affluent retirees, and the cast of characters is quite small, since the scheme doesn't quite come off: 2 couples, Martial and Odette + Maxime and Marlène; one lesbian, Léa, and 2 employees of the estate, the general manager M. Flesh and Nadine, a washed-up hippie who's been hired to organize activities for the old folk. Although the tensions between these people are nothing out of the ordinary, with Garnier This macabre tale is vintage Garnier. The set is a desolate new development intended for affluent retirees, and the cast of characters is quite small, since the scheme doesn't quite come off: 2 couples, Martial and Odette + Maxime and Marlène; one lesbian, Léa, and 2 employees of the estate, the general manager M. Flesh and Nadine, a washed-up hippie who's been hired to organize activities for the old folk. Although the tensions between these people are nothing out of the ordinary, with Garnier you always have a sense that sanity is a very slippery commodity, and that mayhem is just around the corner. And indeed Maxime, the lecherous salesman, without being the kind of lunatic who belongs behind bars, is in all sorts of ways a menace to society. Although he once killed somebody while driving under the influence, he still drinks himself under the table day in and day out without acknowledging his problem. He shares all the phobias typical of FN voters, and once he hears that there are gipsies nearby, he grabs his gun and very nearly shoots Martial dead by mistake, once again in a drunken stupor. I think Maxime is the most fully realized character in the book. For most of the novel you see him as a bore and a bully, but at the end his self-loathing and genuine affection for his wife come to the fore. Garnier's register is quite narrow, but within it, he is quite a master.
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