I like novellas. I read a couple of them in the last few days.
Muriel Spark’s The Driver’s Seat was brutal, and fast paced. We meet our protagonist who dresses like a crazy woman, deliberately leaves her passport in a taxi and literally hurdles toward danger. Maybe because I am travelling alone and the protagonist ends up brutally murdered in chapter two, I found myself wishing I hadn’t read this in a strange city at three in the morning. The story rushes and tumbles over you and you’re left afterward reeling a bit, what just happened? I like thinking through the threads of madness.
The story I really liked was Sunday in August by Patrick Modiano. What a masterpiece. A thriller. A detective story. A mystery. A wicked journey. A car. Jewels. A man with a false name. Who did the girl love? Was she married? The sun pours onto the Paris beaches which may or may not be romantic depending on your point of view. Modiano leads you up the garden path, and his writing is a liquid force, not a word you would sever from its thread, not a sentence that begs to be smashed out of existence. A good book pulls the reader into a tall glass of water which you cannot stop until you have drunk it all. To the Marne, to the Riviera, to the dark girl with the jewels, the embassy, the gardener, the leather coat, the gardener’s son. To all of it. To the light in Paris.