Translated from the French by Sam Richard
Voice Over was the latest choice for our book group, but while there was a lot to discuss, it wasn’t an enjoyable read for me.
The central character in the book is an unnamed woman who announces the train times at the Gare du Nord in Paris. The main theme appears to be her struggle to be noticed:
She lacks self esteem, and so, in an effort to bring meaning to her life, she ends up in a series of difficult situations.
I felt little empathy for the woman; she seemed to bring all the misery on her self, and the majority of her problems could easily have been avoided with a little forethought. Despite the subject matter of the book, there is very little emotion. I felt distanced from the characters and so never connected with them.
The writing style makes this a difficult book to read. There is no speech and little to break up the writing, so you are often confronted with an entire page of words, which means a great deal of concentration is required. With effort, some insightful passages could be discovered:
The pace of the book is slow and rambling. It is only 200 pages long, but feels twice that length. I would not have finished this book had I not been reading it for the book group. There are a lot of people who will love this book though – literary fiction fans will enjoy analysing the many layers contained in this book and, due to the number of things left unresolved, it makes a great discussion point.
Overall, I found this to be a skillfully written debut novel, but the lack of a strong plot meant it wasn’t for me.