By Patrick Lapeyre, Translated by Adriana Hunter
Other Press, 16.95, 336 pages
In his first novel translated into English, prize-winning author Patrick Lapeyre narrates this unhappy account of a doomed love triangle. Nora Neville is a young would-be actress who has captured the hearts and minds of two hapless men: Louis Bleriot, an under-employed, married Parisian, and Murphy Blomdale, an American investment broker living in London. As Nora flits back and forth between the two cities, the tale of how each of the couples meets and then parts unfolds.
“He loves her and she’s cheating on him.”
Lapeyre’s writing is both polished and subtle with traces of dry humor, often creating a cinematic mood and feel. Although the structure, pacing, setting, and tone of the novel are all expertly developed, the characters are less so. This is primarily the story of cagey Nora and self-absorbed Louis, supported by a small cast of secondary actors. Being that the Frenchman is hopelessly attracted to Nora, there is never any doubt that none of it will end well. There is so little sympathy for the characters or interest in the end of the affairs, which is more surprising. This book is for readers who enjoy contemporary fiction set in a European location.
Reviewed By Linda Frederiksen