Thursday, 7 August 2008

Faces in the Dark

Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac wrote in such a vivid way that it is hardly surprising that so many of their books have been turned into films. I haven’t seen the movie based on Faces in the Dark, but the film tie-in paperback that I read on holiday tells me that the stars included John Gregson, Michael Denison and Mai Zetterling.

It may be a film worth seeking out. Certainly, the book is a good read, and it has a particularly chilling premise. Richard Hermantier is a wealthy businessman who has been blinded in an accident. After a period of convalescence, his wife takes him to their holiday home to prepare for the day when he may be ready to take charge again of his company. But he struggles to come to terms with his disability, and soon becomes convinced that something dreadful is happening to his life.

Boileau and Narcejac are at their best when conjuring the fears experienced by those who find themselves at the mercy of a malign Fate. In this book, the idea of the vulnerability of the blind man, betrayed by those upon whom he must depend, is handled with terrifying brilliance.

My only reservation was about the rather abrupt and simplistic ending, which seemed out of keeping with the exceptionally dark tone of the slow, agonising, build-up. Nevertheless, this is another notable book by my favourite French authors .

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