Lylie: Life in a glass cage…observed by all
After The Crash
Weidenfeld & Nicolson
On the night of 22 December 1980, a plane crashes on the Franco-Swiss border and is engulfed in flames. 168 out of 169 passengers are killed instantly. The miraculous sole survivor is a three-month-old baby girl. Two families, one rich, the other poor, step forward to claim her, sparking an investigation that will last for almost two decades. Is she Lyse-Rose or Emilie?
Eighteen years later, having failed to discover the truth, private detective Credule Grand-Duc plans to take his own life, but not before placing an account of his investigation in the girl’s hands. But, as he sits at his desk about to pull the trigger, he uncovers a secret that changes everything – then is killed before he can breathe a word of it to anyone…
This was a very very slow burn for me, a lot of time is taken to set the scene, provide some history and introduce the characters, however if you can force yourself to continue reading you are in for a treat!
A large part of the narrative is designated to trying to establish who the child is, and the methods used to determine the identity. Mystery and red herrings abound. The pace increases and before you realise it you are thoroughly engaged with this narrative.
This is in multiple view point narrative partly revealed by the sharing of diary entries gifted to one of the main characters who in turn shares the diary with another character. The diary is written by the investigator who plans to commit suicide when he finally concedes he cannot solve the puzzle of the crash survivor’s identity. Other characters also have an opportunity to share their views on the identity and the action taking place. One voice is particularly creepy.
The unreliable narrator has a wonderful time in this narrative playing with our perceptions, twisting the truth, conspiracy theories abound; the plot twists and turns and there are so many surprises and a dash of lunacy, murder, missing persons and ugly characters with ugly intentions that will keep you reading.
The translation is flawless thanks to the brilliant work of Sam Taylor.