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"A little thing happened to me. Which could have just as easily happened to you. You're on vacation in a hotel with your son in a small village and you're about to go see some friends, but something holds you back, a mysterious reticence that prevents you from going to find them. Here is the novel of this reticence, small and specific, and of the fears that it instigates, little by little. Because not only are your friends not there when you do decide to go find them, but, several days later, you find a dead cat in the harbor, a black cat floating in front of you on the water..." In Jean-Philippe Toussaint's take on the detective novel, we find a man on vacation in a tiny village, where a writer named Biaggi appears to be keeping him under surveillance. To what end? Ah, but it's far more pleasant to enjoy the Mediterranean night air than to look for answers, make deductions, or get upset--isn't it?
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In Toussaint, everything depends on [an] almost. Minor breaks in routine become moving because human action per se is depicted as fragile, ephemeral, absurd. --John Taylor You have to read [Reticence] in one sitting. Otherwise, like watching a movie in bits and pieces, you d miss the most important part: its slow movement . . . a brilliant combination of a sort of nervous delirium and stifled laughter. In this, Reticence finds [a] perfect and subtle balance of seriousness, derision, and poetry. --Jean-Claude Lebrun Toussaint is a genuinely funny writer . . . small erotic moments are captured perfectly . . . makes me long for more by Toussaint. Dreamy and funny and haunted in a way all his own. --Lorin Stein

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