For the alert follower of crime novelists writing in languages other than English, the name Guillaume Musso has been on the radar for some time now, for both his prodigious sales (600,000 copies of The Reunion in France) and his already considerable reputation. English-speaking readers now have a chance to sample his wares in a typically adroit translation by one of the doyens of the field, Frank Wynne.
The Reunion begins on the French Riviera in 2017, when three friends who have not spoken in more than two decades are invited to their school’s anniversary reunion. They have a particularly persuasive reason to return and meet again, despite their years-long enmity: there is a corpse buried in the building – and the trio know exactly who it was that put it there.
If the above scenario (friends hiding a long-suppressed secret, which erupts into the present) sounds shop-worn, well, yes, it is. But Musso has a very individual approach to the narrative here and a quirky authorial voice that ensures his familiar scenario comes up like fresh paint. What’s more, his economical but rounded characterisation makes this a particularly diverting (and stimulating) read.
Reviewed by Barry Forshaw
Written by Guillaume Musso
Translated from the French by Frank Wynne
Published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson (2019)
Barry Forshaw’s books include Crime Fiction: A Reader’s Guide, the Keating Award-winning Brit Noir and Nordic Noir. Other work: Death in a Cold Climate, Sex and Film and the British Crime Writing encyclopedia (also a Keating Award winner). He edits Crime Time.
Read Barry Forshaw’s #RivetingReview of KILL THE ANGEL by Sandrone Dazieri