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How's the Pain? by Pascal Garnier
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How's the Pain? (original 2006; edition 2012)

by Pascal Garnier

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272402,159 (3.58)None
Member:clfisha
Title:How's the Pain?
Authors:Pascal Garnier
Info:Gallic Books (2012), Paperback, 157 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Crime, France, hitman, suicide, friendship, 12 in 12, 2012

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How's the Pain? by Pascal Garnier (2006)

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French (1)  English (1)  All languages (2)
A slim full bodied taste of French Noir.

Simon (whose business is to exterminate "Vermin") is at the end of his life and on his last job but on a whim he decides that he needs a driver and asks his very new young friend, guileless Bernard, to take the job.. but life (and death) has its own plans.

Caught firmly between life's hope and its inevitable darkness, this is an amusingly dark novel, punctured with flashes of violence that still manages to retain a soft spot for human frailty. It's really the tone and structure that standout, as Simon's cynical observations and desperate nostalgia rub against Bernard's youth and optimism. Two characters, one of whom wants a future and another who needs an ending. Although It’s not really an odd couple story, all characters are wonderfully skewed (but never over the top) from the elderly taxidermist who needs love to Bernard’s alcoholic mother, no it’s more clash of plans versus life’s chaos.

The structure just adds an extra thoughtfulness to the novel (end at the beginning). May I add that personally it was refreshing to read a non USA noir, although it took me a while to visually swap to a French background! The translation seems good too, although some English words felt a bit jarring i.e. dole (meaning benefits)

Recommend to genre fans or wanting a quick, immersive, morally ambivalent read. ( )
1 vote clfisha | Nov 7, 2012 |
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The sound coming from somewhere in the darkness was barely audible, but it was enough to shatter his sleep.
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Death is Simon's business. And now the ageing vermin exterminator is preparing to die. But he still has one last job down on the coast, and he needs a driver. Bernard is twenty-one and can't pass up the opportunity of chauffeuring Simon.

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