Finished June 26
The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles by Katherine Pancol, translated by William Rodarmor and Helen Dickinson
This is another good summer read choice. Set in Paris, this novel tells the story of a French family. Josephine lives with her husband Antoine and her two daughters, 15-year-old Hortense and 9-year-old Zoe. As the book begins, Antoine has been out of work for some months, and Josephine has been working hard to support the family, only to discover that Antoine has a girlfriend on the side. Josephine asks him to leave and he goes to live with his girlfriend, a hairdresser named Mylene. Soon after the two go to Africa to raise crocodiles for a Chinese man.
Josephine's older sister Iris has married a lawyer and lives a good life, but is bored and senses that her husband is growing tired of her. To impress someone at a dinner she attends, she claims she is writing a novel set in the 12th century and convinces Josephine to write it. Iris will attach her name to the book, but Josephine will get the money, something she badly needs. Against her better judgement, Josephine agrees.
As we see Josephine's extended family, her snobby mother; her kind and wealthy, but lonely stepfather; her brother-in-law, we learn a little more about her, and how she came to live the life she is in. As she must raise her girls mostly alone, we see her gain confidence as well. We see how she grows to like her brother-in-law more and her sister less as she becomes more aware of what drives each of them.
Her stepfather also begins to tire of his wife's attitude and look elsewhere for happiness.
The story extends to Josephine's friends and neighbours, with the one single mother eager to take any option to avoid working herself, while the other has a mysterious secret and the confidence to support Josephine in her steps toward a new life.
Fun and lively, this book has also been made into a movie in France, and I shall be looking for its release here.