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The Alley Cat by Yves Beauchemin
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The Alley Cat (1981)

by Yves Beauchemin

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1503122,878 (3.54)6
First published in Quebec in 1981, Beauchemin’s highly acclaimed comic masterpiece of storytelling follows in the tradition of the great novels of the 19th century. When Florent Boissonneault comes to the aid of an accident victim, his life changes forever. One onlooker, the powerful and sinister Egon Ratablavasky, comes to haunt his ambitions and dreams, lurking behind his every opportunity, success, and failure. Finally, obsessed by a need to free himself, Florent discovers how to fight back. From the Trade Paperback edition.… (more)

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English (2)  French (1)  All languages (3)
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Florent has a dull job as salesman for a record company in Quebec. He's always wanted to own a restaurant. One day an act of kindness to a stranger on the street attracts the attention of an elderly wealthy man, who puts him on the path to buy a local restaurant. Florent is thrilled but baffled at his benefactor's intentions. As the restaurant changes hands and Florent with his young wife and several friends work to get things running smoothly, strange incidents begin to occur. Several of which threaten to ruin their budding restaurant business. Eventually it throws them into poverty, and Florent must search out other means to make a living. He tries his hand at various business ventures, but every time the old man crops up again, seems to have his hands behind everything. It gets very convoluted and distressing. Florent starts finding connections between all kinds of disparate people in his life, and just when things start to look up again and they think the strange benefactor has disappeared, the creepy old man shows up yet again. Eventually Florent does manage to establish his own restaurant again, and his conflict with the old man reaches a drastic conclusion.

This is a strange book. I almost put it down several times, but the story kept taking interesting turns, even though I couldn't always follow the intrigue. As events progressed it got more laughs out of me, and a lot of puzzlement as well. It's one of those books I might read again, just to see if I can figure it all out. The more I think about it, the more I actually like it.

more at the Dogear Diary ( )
  jeane | Jan 11, 2015 |
Since I finished this book I've been trying to figure it out. Some good writing, some average writing. No real loveable characters, except maybe Elise. The bad guy has no raison d'etre, he appears and seems to cause grief but has no purpose, perhaps like evil itself? At the end though it tried to do to much, and failed to leave a lasting impression. Perhaps it doesnt translate into English well. ( )
1 vote charlie68 | Mar 31, 2010 |
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