Paperback review: Moon in a Dead Eye, By Pascal Garnier (Trs by Emily Boyce)

When the search for the good life goes horribly wrong

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The Independent Culture

Martial and Odette sell their house in Paris to move to Les Conviviales, a new gated retirement village in the south of France.

At first, they are the only occupants, apart from the slightly creepy caretaker, Monsieur Flesh. Then the married couple, Maxime and Marlene, and the single lesbian, Lea, move in, and Nadine, the clubhouse secretary visits to plan activities for the under-populated community. Gypsies set up camp outside. Odette is troubled by a fly that no one else can see, Lea goes into trances, Maxime keeps a gun under the cushion of his wheelchair. The atmosphere gets stranger and bleaker – each chapter contains some startling revelation. The final descent into violence is worthy of J G Ballard.