This is my least favorite book by Katherine Pancol. I am quite surprised that I read the novel till the end. The female lead is downright exasperating. It was hard and almost impossible to relate to her as a protagonist.
The leading character, a writer stuck in the past, is mourning the loss of father. Her relation with her deceased parent is unholy and detrimental to her being. Her unhealthy possessiveness carried on through her adult life, starts early on as a child. It borders on incest. The story is a paternal version of the oedipal complex.
At moments, Pancol’s protagonist is downright annoying. The distance she creates with loved ones is often conveyed to the reader, but she constantly laments it. She stretches the limit of her friendship with Bonnie, her New York host, to the point where I myself wanted to kick her out. It is as though the book is her journey of never ending self-pity.
Constantly seeking the approval of a father who belittle s her talent, shattering her confidence, the protagonist reflects on her persona and relations not only with men but also her family and her friends. Seeming frail, her character proves at last to be a strong-headed patient woman and finally succeeds in having her happy ending.
Towards the end of the novel, a recurring conclusion in Pancol’s work, the heroine finally pulls herself together to savor her own life. It is in these final sections that she succeeds in endearing the reader.
Les hommes cruels ne courent pas les rues
Author: Katherine Pancol
Éditions du Seuil et Points