“The wind was slapping at the sails in a dazzling sky.”
THE opening quote is from Umberto Eco: ‘To survive, you must tell stories.” By half way through this page-turner thriller, you may have counted six or is that seven separate stories? And more are on the way. Before any narrative reaches a brick wall, up comes another one. Another twist. There is hardly any time to get to know anyone before the gears change again.
There is a particular skill to writing the kind of chapters that end on a tease, the melodramatic cliff hanger, the omg what is up next? Musso is a master.
We are on a mythical island of millionaires, Beaumont, into which we have a cast connected by their writing aspirations, the student wannabe author, the reclusive writer, the bookshop owner, the journalist. Musso has sold apparently 33 million copies across 40 countries and is France’s best selling author. Some of the humour is probably lost in translation, but not the accent of blanquette de veau or the bureaucratic proclamations issued by authorities to close off the island, or the egos of all concerned. Raphael, our narrator, is on a mission, but then so is everyone else, and so have others been as the past creeps up.
What sets out as a friendly social interplay, somehow manages to wrap up all the loose ends into one gigantic bag of a finale, well actually more than one. You won’t see it coming, because you are not expected to…Excellent beach reading.