THE ESKIMO SOLUTION BY PASCAL GARNIER
With the average Haringey studio flat now costing as much as the renewal of Trident, meaning that no‑one can afford a house until nana carks it, it’s a miracle that nobody has yet started a service to off elderly relatives. Parentokil, say, or Gran-dead. The children’s author protagonist of The Eskimo Solution imagines Louis – the anti-hero of his first crime novel, presented as a book-within-a-book – doing just that, surreptitiously murdering the parents of people struggling for money like a psychopathic Secret Santa. The problem is, distracted from his Normandy writing retreat by elderly neighbours, friends in trouble and his girlfriend’s Lolitalike daughter, his life and fiction become blurred at the seams.
So economical, fast-paced and fleeting as to be almost dream-like, this latest in a series of translations of novellas by the late French thriller writer Pascal Garnier treats its sudden bursts of violence as almost semi-comic asides to its dual tales of creeping psychological darkness.
Oft likened to J.G. Ballard and Georges Simenon, Garnier’s prose is brisk and occasionally dazzling, whipping by so fast you barely have time to register its warped, unholy mindset sucking you in. Ten years after its French publication, The Eskimo Solution’s chilling treatise on the economics of slaughter is more timely than ever.