Vous plaisantez, monsieur Tanner ?

For the first bBook coverook from Jean-Paul Dubois, I might have picked the wrong one. The author is rather well-known in France and perhaps I raised my expectations too high, but I have not found the book to deserve the success it had.

The plot is more than simple, our main protagonist, Tanner, inherited a house and decides to refurbish it, leading him to a year of vaudevillesque misadventures involving the various blue-collars he hires. no more, no less.

The idea, albeit not quite innovative, is good material for entertainment. And yet, though Dubois’s style is pleasant and better than most best sellers you can read, it lacks something to be really fun. I smiled at best, but I never found myself laughing or thinking how ingenious that story was.

The main flaw I would reproach the book is the lack of narrative thread. The reader is thrown from an episode to the other with very little indication on time or context. Arguably this is due to the fact that the narrator loses track of time himself, but the technique only renders poor cohesion. A shame.

To much of my surprise, I realised the book was made into a TV movie in 2010, which only adds up to my confusion: how can a book that is just slightly above mediocre make so much profit?


About John Barré

English & German into French translator. Interested in languages, literature, video games, localisation & translation - among many other topics.
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