Celine Curiol - Voice Over (3 stars)

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Celine Curiol

(Faber)

SURREAL FICTION

Printed in the author’s native France in 2005 to much acclaim, Voice Over looks like repeating the trick in this new English translation. Certainly, no less an author than Paul Auster has championed the 30-year-old New York-based journalist and writer in glowing terms: ‘One of the most original and brilliantly executed works of fiction by any contemporary writer I know of’.

Perhaps Auster is fluent in French. Curiol’s tale of a young woman who works as a station announcer at the Gare du Nord and obsesses over a man she can’t have is rich and dream-like, and efficiently filled with a sense of the disconnection and loneliness which living a life that’s even slightly out of tune with the modern city brings. Yet, the relentlessly descriptive limited third-person narrative and the staccato punch of the author’s short, clipped sentences forms a polarising writing style which may have worked better in her native language.

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