Summer of Reckoning
Marion Brunet, Katherine Gregor
The story takes place in the suffocating atmosphere of a social housing estate in the south of France. Sixteen-year-old Celine and her sister Jo, fifteen, dream of escaping to somewhere far from their daily routine, far from their surly, alcoholic father and uncaring mother, both struggling to make ends meet. That summer Celine falls pregnant, devastating news that reopens deep family wounds. Those of the mother Severine whose adolescence was destroyed by her early pregnancy and subsequent marriage with Manuel. Those of Manuel, grandson of Spanish immigrants, who takes refuge in alcoholism to escape the open disdain of his in-laws. Faced with Celine’s refusal to name the father, Manuel needs a guilty party and Said, a childhood friend of the girls and conveniently Arab, seems to fit the role perfectly. In the suffocating heat of summer Manuel embarks on a drunken mission of revenge. A dark and upsetting account of an ailing society, filled with silent and murderous rage.
GUARDIAN: "There's an appalling, slow-motion car crash inevitability to this concise and beautifully written novel, not only about the disastrous consequences of Manuel's idee fixe, but also about the identity of the real father and the guilt and shame that follow." THE TIMES (London): "Summer of Reckoning is a powerful portrait of disaffected youth, stunted lives and insidious racism. It portrays a Provence that few tourists glimpse and will have its expats wondering just what lies beneath the swimming pool. Marion Brunet reminds us that noir is a French word; that "life's not like a fairytale for silly girls. Life hurts." This is the first of her award-winning books to be translated into English. More, please, au plus vite!" "With raw, chilling and incisive prose, Brunet takes us into a world of sectarian convictions dominated by the hatred of the rich, the bosses, the foreigners and the 'different'." --L'Express "With its intense rage, corrosive boredom and low-life scams, Brunet's South of France is saturated with broken dreams. And the last flickers of childhood are terrifying, proving that, even under the strong sun, social barriers remain implacable."--Paris Match "A story that is dark and luminous at the same time, dark following the slow unravelling of the crime story affecting Celine, and luminous in Joe's conviction that she will escape this sinister world. A novel that leaves you heart-stricken and seduced."--Le Monde "Dramatic tension is evident from the very beginning of this fierce and dark novel, well served by terse, direct and brilliant prose. The characters are strong, seemingly right beside us, nervous, anxious, overworked, and perspiring under the southern sun." -- Le Temps "Impresses with its mastery of rhythm and atmospheres, its acute powers of observation and the power of its writing, fierce, physical, and intense."- Telerama
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