mercredi 27 août 2014

Completement cramé by Gilles Legardinier


When widower Andrew Blake realises that he no longer feels comfortable in his old life, he abandons the company he owns and starts a new life… as a butler in France, the country where he met his wife. Hiding his true identity from his new boss, the wealthy widow Nathalie, and the other members of staff on the Beauvillier estate, Blake tries to recapture some of the taste for life he feels as though he has lost. But his new life will force him to turn away from thoughts of the past to embrace a future he had not at all expected…

The second of the French books by Gilles Legardinier that my wife convinced me to read, Completement Cramé is a very different beast to Demain j’arrete. The main character changes from a twenty-something woman to a middle-aged man going through a mid-life crisis, one that pushes him to change his life completely, abandoning the company he has built to start afresh as a butler on a French estate. Not as funny as Demain j’arrete, Completement Cramé (translated as Completely Insane, basically) is a deeper, more rounded book that packs more of a punch than the first one. The characters are more developed, the plot stronger, but the writing remains as glorious as in the first one. The dialogue sparkles, playing on Blake’s Englishness, a fact that gives an extra kick to an Englishman living in France and reading the book. Though less crazy than Julie, Blake is not a man to be trifled with, willing to go to some impressive extremes to protect the new family he has built for himself (the scene with the two estate agents is especially funny in this regard!) Throughout, Legardinier ponders the importance of the past, the pain of growing old and reminds us that it is never too late to make a fresh start. Although it didn’t make me laugh as much as Demain j’arrete, I loved Completement Cramé just as much, for very different reasons.

I gave Completement Cramé 5 stars.

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