TITLE: WHERE WOULD I BE WITHOUT YOU
AUTHOR: GUILLAUME MUSSO
Details: Translation from French
The copy I read of this book was an uncorrected bound proof, kindly send to me for my opinion by Bookhugger through the RealReaders programme. The book is due to be published here on April 4th, 2011.
This is the story about Martin Beaumont, a young man from Paris, France who, while spending a summer in San Francisco, meets Gabrielle with whom he falls deeply and irrevocably in love. But once the summer is over he returns to France and it seems that their chance at love has been lost forever for reasons Martin doesn't know or understand.
Years later Martin is a successful but bitter detective in Paris on the hunt of notorious art thief, Archibald Maclean, a hunt that turns into an obsession.
But is Martin really chasing Maclean or is Maclean playing a game with Martin?
When Maclean travels to San Francisco preparing for his nex big theft, Martin follows him there. And in San Francisco Martin will face Maclean as well as a love he thought lost forever and big questions about life and death.
What to say about this book? It is completely unlike anything I've read before, and it wasn't at all what I expected from the blurb. I was expecting a thriller in which a cop follows a master criminal combined with a love story. And those aspects where certainly in the book. But it was much more than that and even the term magical realism doesn't seem adequate when I'm trying to classify this novel. The book was too philosphical to be simply filed under thriller and too dark to be qualified as a simple love story. The last quarter of the book plays out in an otherworldly realm which stretches the reader's ability to suspend disbelieve to its outer limits, and for some probably beyond those limits.
In some aspects this story was a bit too simple for me, all the links a bit too convenient and explanations to easily accepted by all involved. In other parts though, the story took me to completely unexpected places which, while fascinating, also seemed a bit too far-fetched.
Having said all that, the book captured me almost from the first page, and although I did find the ending a bit contrived and convenient, it did put a happy smile on my face. And that is the reason I mark this book 4-, despite my reservations as far as some parts of the story are concerned.