When I first read the title, I immediately thought of Sigmund Freud’s Oedipus complex and wondered how the father will get killed.
Nothomb, who lived 3 years in the USA and still visits it, placed the story in the Nevada desert. She used the aspects that touched her the most about the area such as Burning Man (A week-long annual event dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance. Participants leave one week later, having left no trace whatsoever.) and Las Vegas.
Joe Whip, a 14 year-old boy interested in magic gets kicked out of the house by his mother and her boyfriend.
His life changes when a couple; magician Norman Terrence and his girlfriend Christina take him in to live with them. Weird dynamics develop between the members of this newly founded family: The adoptive parents will experience what it is like to have a teenager at home and somewhere along the way, the story takes what will be a “sick” turn for some and an excepted one for others when Joe falls in love with Christina…
The author is exploring the subject of paternity. Although I felt like I read a summary of some bigger story and expected more from the writer, this short novel is entertaining and a quick light read.
The book is also available in English.