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LORRAINE CONNECTION
by Dominique Manotti, Amanda Hopkinson and Ros Schwartz, translators
Arcadia Books, December 2007
208 pages
10.99 GBP
ISBN: 1905147600


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

If you want to read about the France of lavender fields, idyllic villages and long lunches, then don't read Dominique Manotti. What you'll get instead is an idiosyncratic writer who really packs a punch.

Her two previous books translated into English, ROUGH TRADE and DEAD HORSEMEAT, feature openly-gay cop Theo Daquin and the seamier side of Parisian life. LORRAINE CONNECTION has policeman-turned-PI Charles Montoya investigating some deadly goings-on at a factory.

The Korean-owned factory in Pondange, Lorraine, manufactures cathode ray tubes. It's a grim place to work, and the book opens with a horrifying shop floor accident and it's not the first. Tensions escalate, the workers go on strike and take over the factory. Then there's a fire, followed by a number of deaths.

Montoya's investigations unearth political and economic machinations.

And as with the Daquin books, there are international implications, and Manotti's particularly strong at delineating the different groups. The sections with the factory workers are possibly the most engrossing. She doesn't make them put-upon angels, but instead real people with real-life concerns.

Manotti possesses that enviable talent that some writers simply don't the ability to manipulate a large cast adroitly, whilst ensuring that the readers always remember who the person is, without having to scroll back.

Her trademark is crisp, throwaway sentences that keep the book rolling. She does something I generally dislike shifting point of view seemingly at whim. But because she's created such distinctive narrative voices, she gets away with it. LORRAINE CONNECTION is a powerful political thriller, but it probes deeper into both the professional and the personal, as Manotti portrays the motivations behind people's actions.

And at this point can we have a big hand for our two translators, Amanda Hopkinson and Ros Schwartz. I've read Manotti in French and even though I'm no linguist, I can confirm that she's a challenge to translate with those swift point of view swings and short, distracted sentences. But Hopkinson and Schwartz provide us with a lucid translation which keeps the reader anchored at all times.

Reviewed by Sharon Wheeler, May 2008

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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