20 February 2008

Patrick Süskind, The Pigeon, 1987

Fear and self-loathing in Paris. Jonathan Nöel is a non-person, a man who has preferred decades of complete anonymity to the messy business of actually living, but his unimaginative and ultra-organised world is thrown into complete turmoil by the random appearance of a pigeon on his apartment doorstep. Kafkaesque, certainly, looking closely at how near we can live to the stuff of our nightmares with only the horror of our own suppressed rage to stop us from going over the edge, but for me The Pigeon is a greater success in that, despite its present day setting, it has all the feel of a novel fifty years older than it actually is. Recommended.   PY

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