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  • 9781908313164_FC
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Publication date
11th February 2013


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The A26


Author Pascal Garnier


The future is on its way to Picardy with the construction of a huge motorway. But nearby is a house where nothing has changed since 1945.

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The future is on its way to Picardy with the construction of a huge motorway. But nearby is a house where nothing has changed since 1945.

Traumatised by events in 1945, Yolande hasn’t left her home since.

And life has not been kinder to Bernard, her brother, who is now in the final months of a terminal illness.

Realizing that he has so little time left, Bernard’s gloom suddenly lifts. With no longer anything to lose, he becomes reckless – and murderous …

‘Garnier plunges you into a bizarre, overheated world, seething death, writing, fictions and philosophy. He’s a trippy, sleazy, sly and classy read.’ A. L. Kennedy
‘A brilliant exercise in grim and gripping irony, it makes you grin as well as wince.’ The Sunday Telegraph
‘For those with a taste for Georges Simenon or Patricia Highsmith, Garnier’s recently translated oeuvre will strike a chord … While this is an undeniably steely work, his translator Melanie Florence does justice to the author’s occasional outbreaks of dark humour that suddenly pierce through the clouds of encroaching existential gloom.’ The Independent
‘The events in Simenon’s Maigret stories are seemingly random and opaque until the great detective perceives how they all fit together; in The A26 we get the story from the other side, as it were, and without any intervention by the forces of good. And Garnier never gives a clear motive for Bernard’s murderous turn because this is our random, godless age and there’s a top dressing to the novel of a very French existentialism … This is tough, bloody stuff, but put together with a cunning intelligence.’ The Sunday Times
‘Literary fiction with a hapless, desperate serial killer … as the book went on it began to really grip me. The truth that is revealed is that for these Frenchmen and women the war has never really ended, and they are the poorer for it.’ The Big Issue
The A26 is a warning against hermeticism, blockades and isolation: an illustration that the borders we so unthinkingly put up – even those literary distinctions between genres – are in fact unstable and transient. The proper word for this rejection of boundaries and certainties is probably “modernism” and this, it seems, is the best label for the book: at least it’s better than the bullshitty genre compound “Horror-fiction-literary-black-comedy-noir”. But the fact remains that whatever you do decide to call The A26, the book is absolutely fantastic.’ Tomcat in the Red Room
‘Another darkly odd piece of the French world … This book will appeal to fans of The League of Gentlemen … Yolande and Bernard are very much a French Edward and Tubbs’ Winstonsdad’s Blog
‘Writing that is limpid, precise, even poetic.’ Le Figaro
‘Garnier’s books are marked by their integration of strange characters into their French provincial settings as evinced by The Panda Theory and How’s The Pain?and always retain at their heart a sense of human frailty, despite the blackness of the humour and at times horrific events. Combining the style of Simenon with the visual imagination and humour of the Coen Brothers, there is much to recommend these novellas. They are small works of literary genius, and I would urge you to discover them for yourselves.’ Ravencrime
‘The grim tale of this diabolical duo is entirely redeemed by the stylistic prose of the author who, as the French know, excels in this sort of tale.’ Russell James, Crime Time

Melanie Florence teaches at The University of Oxford and translates from the French.


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