Boxes by Pascal Garnier is a work of noir fiction about a French man who goes through with moving to the countryside despite his wife's sudden overseas disappearance (available May 18, 2015).
The house was sulking. Not one window would look him in the face.
Those dazzling lines from Pascal Garnier’s novel Boxes are enough to make me want to read more and more of his books. But those bits of dizzying surrealism are only part of what makes the late Frenchman’s novels such gems. Boxes, which was released in its original French in 2012, two years after Garnier’s death at age 60, is being brought out in a new English translation, courtesy of Melanie Florence. It’s the latest in Gallic Books’ series of English language versions of Garnier’s noir fiction works. And it’s superb.
Like much of Garnier’s body of noir, Boxes is set in a provincial area of France. Also in keeping with the author’s general approach, it studies a person who is living in such terrain and whose life – and mind, and spirit – is coming apart. Brice Casadamont is a middle-aged man who illustrates children’s books as his profession. (Garnier authored many kids’ books, in addition to his noir novels.) Brice and his wife Emma, an oft-traveling journalist some 20 years his junior, make the decision to vacate their apartment in the city of Lyon and relocate to the countryside. But sometime before moving day, Emma goes missing. She was in Egypt on assignment when she disappeared. Brice goes ahead with the move, anyway, and starts to make a life for himself in the village as he awaits word on Emma.