Writer: Pauline Delabroy – Allard (translated by Adriana Hunter)
Publishing House: Random House
Date of Publication: June 2nd 2020 (first published September 2018)
Rating: 2 stars
”On clear night day of dark
My absent love in my arms
No other part of me persists
But what you whispered in
Louis Aragon, ”The Lilacs”
A young woman lives a quiet life, working as a teacher, mother to a young girl. Everything changes when Sarah enters her life like a whirlwind. A stormy relationship begins, taking the characters on trips all over Europe, in a love affair that resembles a volcano. And if it sounds cheesy, it is. Horribly.
Written in present tense, the focus is on Sarah through the eyes of her lover. Sarah is quite the character, her turbulent nature and temperament is a force impossible to be controlled and I really liked her. She reminded me of myself to a certain extent. Delabroy- Allard presents a story that is nothing to write home about and what power manages to achieve during Part I is quickly dissolved to an array of hysterics that I could neither understand nor empathize with. What I admired, though, was the writer’s depiction of the complexity of love. When does it become an obsession strong enough to make you neglect your own child? In fact, the narrator was a horrible, egoistic, suffocating character. A hysterical, naive person and the repetition of her thoughts made me lose all interest during the second half of the book.
What kept me going was the beautiful setting of Paris during the spring. The writer paints with words when describing the City of Light, the sunlight, the boulevard du Montparnasse, the flowers, the vibe of this special city. Music plays a major part in the story and there are references to French culture and the films of François Truffaut and Jacques Tati.
To readers that have a heart and enjoy ”stormy relationship stories” without any other trace of a plot or a cast of actually interesting characters, this novel will work like a charm. I struggled to reach its last page and the result was utterly disappointing…
Many thanks to Random House and Edelweiss for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.