Hello! I’m back again, and (yes, I say this a lot, it must be my thing!) this might, finally, be regular because, as a judge on the Prix des Auteurs Inconnus (henceforth, PAI), I’m going to be sharing reviews of the shortlisted books in two categories: Littérature Blanche et Littérature Noire. So, this is going to be the most ‘me’ thing ever, a weird mix of franglais that doesn’t always work but, hopefully, is interesting, to someone other than me.
Blurb: Laurène a seize ans et vit à Aix-en-Provence en 2019. Marius a douze ans et vit à Aix-en-Provence en 1942. Deux personnes, deux époques différentes. Mais le destin va les réunir au travers d’un journal de guerre. “Une histoire émouvante sur la guerre du point de vue d’un enfant.”
Overall, I liked this book. I thought it had a good plot, interesting characters and was written in a style that was easy to read. The stories of the two protagonists, Laurène and Marius, were well balanced throughout and both had a distinct voice. Both young, losing their innocence and adolescence (of course in two very different ways: Laurène through discovery, Marius through, obviously, experience). Cotant’s style is almost lyrical, very fluid and allows you to fall into the depths of the story and forget everything else. My one criticism is that it’s too short. At just under one hundred pages, Mon Petit Soldat packs a punch, absolutely, but imagine if it was 200 or 300 or 400 pages, how much the story and the characters could be fleshed out. Sometimes, it felt like a listing of events rather than exploring them in depth. While I liked this book, I could have loved it… if there was more.
For finding out more about the PAI, discovering the other shortlisted books or those from previous years:
Merci! Em x