This tale of two Parisians who meet on a tennis court and agree to shed their identities features crime only incidentally. The plot sounds in outline like a Patricia Highsmith-style psychological thriller, yet the novel is much more a social comedy, though occasionally of a heart-rending kind. And, though the author is French, the novel is no frothy farce.
But call Someone Else a meditation on love, aging, and the cruelties of the corporate world, and you're apt to paint too solemn a picture.
I was carried away with reading the novel and so took few notes. One passage that I did highlight comes close to capturing the book's appeal:
"Trying to find predictable aspects in everyone was to deny the irrational element in each of them, the hint of poetry, absurdity and free will. Some kinds of madness were beyond any logic, and most — like Thierry Blin's — were not recorded in the great books on pathology."That may not be the world's freshest philosophical statement, but it's quite another matter to take the theory and put it into practice in the form of a story, and an entertaining, occasionally affecting one at that. Benacquista does it here.
His interviewer, Ann Cleeves, disagreed. What do you think?
© Peter Rozovsky 2010