Today up for review is a psychological thriller called The Disappearance of Adele Bedeau by Graeme Macrae Burnet from Bee Books. Graeme Macrae Burnet ‘s The Bloody Project was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2016 which is why I had really high hopes from this one!
The story is set in a small town of Saint Louise in France, known for being quaint and ordinary. When Adele Bedeau, a surly waitress who works at Restaurant De La Cloche suddenly disappears, the quiet town turns into a frenzy. It is with the arrival of the investigating officer, Gorges Gorski that the suspects and their pasts come under scrutiny. The major light falls on Manfred Baumann, a regular at the restaurant. His creepy behaviour, especially his interest in Adele is what makes everyone focus on him. The story slowly unravels the layers of the characters as it zooms in on the core of the disappearance.
To be honest, the slow pace of the novel kind of scared me off in the start. The author takes his own sweet time to traverse through the story, pausing at all the wanted and unwanted details but it is exactly what was needed. The characters get their own chance for the reader to see through them and know them. Baumann’s portrayal of a creepy, creature of habit and stalker tendencies made me loathe him more with every page. I started understanding the thought process of stalkers and their own twisted, convulsive interpretations of the most simple things.
For a modern society, the nuances of misogyny and women as mere pleasure objects were strong enough to disgust me and also question myself about the concept of ‘contemporary society.’ True, set in a small town was a major point of contention. It also makes me wonder if it all boils down the age old saying that the true measure of a country’s tolerance and mentality is not judged by big cities and rich people but through small towns and the middle class segment.
The Disappearance of Adele Bedeau is a story that isn’t going to make in fall in love with the characters, their demons or their pasts but to pull you through a slow and realistic picture, converging on the focus of the plot. I absolutely love the writing and the language. The typos here and there kind of took a little away but other than that, it was an absolutely stellar read which is why I am rating this a 4.5 stars out of 5!
Disclaimer : I received a review copy of the novel from the publishers in exchange of an honest and unbiased review.
Until next time!