Véronique Ovaldé - Kick the Animal Out (2 stars)

Véronique Ovaldé



For this French writer’s fourth novel (but first in translation), we are in the head of 15-year-old Rose, a girl who spends much of her time on her apartment’s roof terrace wearing a cape and playing with her rabbits. Rose looks, acts and thinks younger than she is, and when her mother mysteriously walks out on her and her stepfather Mr Loyal, her adolescent imagination races with possible reasons.

Véronique Ovaldé does a decent job of getting inside her young narrator’s thoughts, but it’s not necessarily the most exciting place to be. The author’s depiction of place is better, Rose’s rundown seaside resort home and her mother’s mountainous goldmine hometown spring from the page full of life; if only her characters and plot did the same. Dealing not particularly deeply with themes of truth versus lies and imagination versus reality, this is a book that places quirkiness ahead of genuine insight.

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