Sunday, August 26, 2012

Review of The Yellow Eyes of the Crocodiles

I've bought this novel just a few weeks ago, in the beginning of August. I was on a date with my husband, for the first time without our daughter, and we were treating ourselves to a little shopping spree with dinner afterwards.
Me, always caught in a bookstore, let my eyes wander and they fell on this very one. Not hard to do, seeing the intensily bright cover, but still, I do read the back of the book and as it didn't give me any clue to what the story was about, it was mysterious enough for me to take it home with me.

Originally written in French, this novel isn't yet published in English. I've read it in Dutch, my native tongue and I liked it a lot.
It's the story of a family - two sisters, their mother and the people surrounding them, like planets circling three suns - in decrepit, even if not all is aware of it.

The main character, Joséphine, is a quite unstable, emotional, insecure but above all a giving woman, who in the very beginning of the novel is facing the fact that her husband has left her.
Iris, her older sister, apparently happily married to a well-established man, but a marriage devoid of any mutual feeling.
Jo's mother, Henriette, a vixen of a woman, cold in heart and venomous in thought.
Jo's two children, Hortense and Zoë, one coldly and attached and the other sweet and innocent.
Further we've got friends of Jo, friends of Iris, Henriette's husband and other small characters passing the revue.
All in all a whole room full of people, which I don't complain about since this is a novel of almost 600 pages long. The novel, chuck full of different story threads, make it a joy to read. I read it quite quickly, and it lends itself superbly to that. An easy flowing story that almost never gets dull. It's proof that not every succesful book is made of unexpecting turns of event. With a cliffhanger or two, this novel got me not so much on the edge of my seat, but very comfortable in my sofa reading sometimes an hour on end (which isn't that common lately due to my 9month old munchkin).

I'm hoping it will be translated in English soon, because this is a novel you wouldn't want to miss if you like reading about regular people doing regular things but doing so might accomplish greatness from that. What isn't to like about a story set in Paris, where love seems to have been born?

Personal rating: 4 stars
Thickness: 500+ pages
First published in 2006