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Un garçon d'Italie

by Philippe Besson

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The story of this book by Philippe Besson did not strike me as particularly original, although I cannot point at any other story I feel it bears resemblance to. The story is of a love triangle, a married man, his wife and the man's male lover, a male prostitute. All three main characters alternate in taking the role of the narrator, and the story emerges through the changing perspective. There is little suspense, from the start the story is clear to the reader, and there are no surprises. It never becomes clear why the story should be set in Italy.

What irritates me most about the novel is that the male main protagonist is already dead at the beginning of the story, so acting as the narrator is actually his ghost. This novel is not the only to feature a ghost in this way. Recently, I have been reading Instances of the number 3 by Salley Vickers, another contemporary novel, also about a love triangle, in which the ghost of the deceased lover appears to the women and speaks with them. While in the book by Vickers the ghost is not so disturbing, after all, many people are haunted by their past (lovers), the ghost-narrator in Un garçon d'Italie does not seem to have any other function that to narrate the story for the benefit of the reader. It is even made clear that the ghost cannot interact with the other characters in the book. I have read other novels in which supernatural occurrences take place, eg. Spiegelpanden by Sipko Melissen was wondering whether this is something recent. I do not like it. ( )
  edwinbcn | Oct 3, 2011 |
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