Tuesday 30 May 2023

The Whole Night Through

Finished May 25
The Whole Night Through by Christiane Frenette, translated by Sheila Fischman

This novel is set over one long night in a woman's life, but as she looks back on her adult years, we see how she came to this point and get to know the people in her life. Jeanne is the woman at the center of the story. 
As the book opens a moose emerges from the forest near Jeanne's home, and collapses onto the ground. The moose has been shot, and is dying. Jeanne cannot do anything to help, but she sits on her porch, keeping vigil over the moose through the night. Jeanne guesses that it is a stray bullet that has come to the moose, and over the course of the night, she goes over the events, the stray bullets, in her own life that have shaped it. 
When Jeanne was in college she had a close friend, Marianne, that she developed a crush on, but the intense friendship was short-lived. Following that, she tried to make a career in translation, but was struggling. When a chance meeting reintroduces another college friend, Gabrielle back into her life, she develops a deeper friendship with Gabrielle, Gabrielle's brother Paul, and Victor, the baker in their small village. 
This friendship has altered Jeanne's life in a large way, but she still feels alone much of the time.
This is a moving novel of a woman's life as she reflects on these things that influenced her choices in life. 
Over the course of the night, we see each event in Jeanne's life that she identifies as a stray bullet, something that found her unexpectedly, but had a big impact. 

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