The Reunion by Guillaume Musso
Publisher: W & N
Publishing Date: 11th July 2019
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!
Number of pages: 289
Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Thriller & Mystery
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French Riviera, winter 1992.
On a freezing night, as her high school campus is engulfed by a snowstorm, 19-year-old Vinca Rockwell runs away with Alexis, her philosophy teacher.
No one will ever see them again.
French Riviera, spring 2017.
Formerly inseparable, Thomas, Maxime and Fanny – Vinca’s best friends – have not spoken in twenty-five years. But when they receive a notice from their old school detailing the plans for a new gymnasium and inviting them to a class reunion, they know they must go back one more time.
Because there is a body buried in the gymnasium’s walls…
…and they’re the ones who put it there.
In 2017 there is a reunion at school that Thomas, Maxim, Fanny and Vinca attended 25 years ago. However, it’s a meeting that the three remained friends never wanted to attend, as some hidden secrets can be revealed, then those 25 years ago one of the group disappeared and had never been found. Now, the gym which was built at that time is going to be bulldozed, and do those two facts have something in common? What kind of secrets are going to be buried in the walls of the school and what are the three adults, that used to be best friends but have never spoken again over the years, planning now to keep some of the secrets hidden?
The characters are not too likeable, but in this kind of book I really don’t expect them to be. They’re all brilliantly fleshed out. Thomas, now a popular novelist living in the States, was a truly interesting protagonist, a character with a difference. The story is narrated by him in the first person so we really get a good opportunity to see how the events in 1992 affected him, what makes him tick and what has shaped him and his life. We see, through his eyes, the alluring Vinca, woman that even after all the years still has a hold over him. Because of what happened in 1992, he cut himself off from his previous life, all his friends and family, so returning to the town is like opening a Pandora Box for him. His best friend from school, Maxim, is a politician and, to be honest, has better contact with Thomas’s parents as Thomas himself. Now they have both a lot to lose, their whole lives are at stake and they are to face up to their past and future – a great person description here, captivating and capturing all the feelings and emotions.
The story takes us back and forth in time, slowly revealing all the secrets, unpeeling all the layers, fitting all the elements of the puzzle until all of them are revealed. It flits from the winter of 1992, when some of the characters disappeared, to the spring of 2017 when the reunion happens. In the meantime, we are given many different versions and option of what has happened, which makes the reading really exciting and I liked how they were all cleared at the end – even if they felt a bit too rushed for my liking.
The darkness of the tone brilliantly contrasts with the gorgeous setting of the French Riviera, the Côte d’Azur oozes with atmosphere and is a perfect backdrop. The descriptions are evocative and vivid, and you not only hear the waves but also feel the light wind on your skin.
It was dark, full of twists and turns, compelling and thrilling read, full of juicy secrets, about secrets, lies, jealousy, obsession and friendship. There is a lot of names dropping, which usually makes me really sceptical, but this time it still worked in this book. And well, I’m not sure if after reading it you’ll be finding the courage to go to your own school reunion. And yes, I could have been trying to guess no matter how long – my detective skills are non – existent. All the time, when I was thinking oh yes, now I know for sure, I turned the page and bam, there was another twist to come and hit me on the head. But on the other hand, it is great to simply let the author take you by the hand and guide you through the story, let him surprise you with the twisty, suspenseful thriller. Be prepared, though, that the book, that starts in such an innocent way, mentioning finding a body in the school, will offer you so much more than a straight – forward mystery. It is multi – layered and complex, full of ugly secrets threatening to rear out of the past and come back
Altogether, “The Reunion” is a read with difference, with one of the most unpredictable plots, with secrets coming at you thick and fast but in a way that you don’t feel overwhelmed with them. The writing style is so eloquent and almost lyrical, the plot is thickly packed with suspense and fast – paced, the characters are very well fleshed out, the setting is beautiful – simply a brilliant read that I highly recommend!
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