A psychological thriller set in the Luberon, a French region that evokes holidays in magnificent pool-adorned villas. For those who live there year-round, it often means stifling poverty and boredom. Sixteen-year-old Céline 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 the father 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 of her child, Manuel needs a guilty party and Saïd, a friend of the girls from an Arab family, fits Manuel’s bigoted racial stereotype. In the suffocating heat of summer he embarks on a drunken mission of revenge.
The story is set in France,and is about Celine and her family, the story is about envy, discontent and racism. When Celine finds herself pregnant at 16, she won’t tell anyone who the father is. Her father Manuel thinks it is a close friend of theirs called Said, as Manuel is struggles to come to terms and because of his racist behaviour he sets out to destroy Said once and for all but can anyone stop him? The story also centres around Celine and her sister and how they are complete opposites to each other, Jo wants to escape the family life. I read this book in a day and it certainly packs a punch, it is a relatively short story but the descriptions and writing are done well.
I received an ARC copy of this book for an honest review. Thank you to Bitter Lemon Press for sending me a review copy.
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