cover image The Islanders

The Islanders

Pascal Garnier, trans. from French by Emily Boyce. Gallic (, $13.95 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-1-908313-72-0

At the outset of this offbeat comedy of errors from Garnier (How’s the Pain?), Olivier Verdier travels from Paris to Versailles, where his estranged mother has died a few days before Christmas. In Versailles, Olivier’s path crosses those of three very different people: Roland Toutin, a homeless man seeking shelter and food; Rodolphe Mangin, a blind man who still enjoys visiting the Louvre; and Rodolphe’s sister, Jeanne, a teacher beaten down by years of looking after him. It turns out that Jeanne and Rodolphe live across the hall from Olivier’s late mother, and that Olivier and Jeanne share a secret. Decades earlier, when they were teenagers, the pair were suspected of kidnapping and murdering a two-year-old boy whom Jeanne babysat. With severely cold weather delaying his mother’s burial, Olivier must remain in her apartment for several days, a development that leads to unexpected complications. Readers who appreciate the gallows humor of Hitchcock’s The Trouble with Harry will be pleased. (June)