For some reason, and it was a surprise to me, this short novel felt more realized than the first two in the trilogy. But there is no way I would ever compare Marie Redonnet with the writing of Annie Ernaux, Samuel Beckett, or any other person champions in her corner are wont to do for her. She is her own, and no label or comparison will do anyone justice, or any good. The almost-innocent childlike voice of every narrator in all three books of the trilogy can at times remind me of Agota Kristof, but the final result fails in comparison. This trilogy is in no way a brilliant work of fiction, but pure enjoyment can be had in reading them. Redonnet certainly has style, and that matters. Perhaps a novel of hers to come will strike me as masterful. In the meantime I am satisfied in the way in which she fares.
What is interesting, and sometimes a bit puzzling, is how Redonnet in all her books has her young girl characters nonchalantly experiencing, for example, their first period, falling prey to lecherous men who only want them as sex objects, and the girls routinely coming back for more sexual abuse even from the same pathetic guys. Never is any love involved, no emotion, just sex as if it was as normal and acceptable as the setting sun. Prostituting oneself is also expressed nonchalantly and assumed acceptable. It means nothing to these girls to be violently thrown onto the sand and taken, to be ordered to strip naked and be penetrated, or to be turned over and entered from behind. It is all presented in her text as matter-of-fact, no despair, no feeling of injustice or their having been violated. Instead the young girls continue expecting more of the same, and even go looking for it. And to make matters even more disconcerting, in these clever and well-written books there is rarely a decent man available to even have a loving relationship with. But for some reason there is no review yet written that questions any of my concerns relative to the writing of Redonnet. It is almost as if her readers have become complicit in her undertakings and care little about another's undoing or destruction. Or perhaps it is my own puritan upbringing fighting for years to maintain its awful strangling hold on me, and my struggle to conform to a world that rarely, if ever, makes sense.