cover image Article 353

Article 353

Tanguy Viel, trans. from the French by William Rodarmor. Other Press, $15.99 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-1-59051-933-2

Martial Kremeur, the narrator of this beguiling noir from French author Viel (Beyond Suspicion), isn’t surprised when the police arrest him a few hours after heaving Antoine Lazenac out of Lazenac’s fishing boat and leaving the man to drown miles off the Brittany coast. What follows is Kremeur’s explanation for his crime to the judge presiding over his case. Kremeur, a laid-off shipwright employed as a groundskeeper at a rundown château, gradually reveals how he got conned into investing all his cash in an ocean-view apartment in a building complex that Lazenac, a slick property developer, was promising to construct on the site of the château. After six years, Kremeur realizes that Lazenac has no intention of doing anything. Meanwhile, Kremeur’s 17-year-old son is feeling the strain his father is under and acts out. Arresting metaphors enliven the spare prose (when Kremeur signs the papers sealing the real estate deal, “it felt like I’d had the Shroud of Turin authenticated by Christ in person”). Viel should win new American fans with this elegant effort. (Feb.)