The Sermon on the Fall of Rome – Jérôme Ferrari

This month’s serious fiction for serious people, The Sermon on the Fall of Rome is the story of man, or a bar, or a family. Drawing parallels to Saint Augustine’s sermon, it looks at Marcel’s life from the perspective of the end, where old memories run together, and living grandchildren have a much closer impact than long-deceased parents.

A look at mortality, of empires and businesses as well as the obvious mortality of Marcel himself and the slow disintegration of memories of people as everyone who knew them gradually passes on.

I managed not to hold the back cover comparison of this to One Hundred Years of Solitude against it, and definitely liked The Sermon much better than the dull One Hundred Years. The translation reads well, with references that I recognise, which is an art I can respect, although I’m now tempted to read it in the original French.

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The Panda Theory – Pascal Garnier

The Panda Theory was I think the last book that slid into my “buy” stack from my book spa. I mostly picked it up today to take on the train because its a nice light, thin volume (unlike the Song of Ice and Fire books I was tempted by).The Panda Theory

This is a modern novel, set in current France, and without having read the original French the translation reads very well.

Its a slightly strange novel. Starts off by looking as though it will have a friendship theme, but then flashbacks of strange coincidences start appearing and you suspect that it isn’t all as it seems.

I found as it built to a climax it got a bit too gritty for me, but if dark is your thing then it might be worth giving it a try.