Troy Patterson
December 14, 2007 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Power of Flies

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Lydie Salvayre
publisher
Dalkey Archive
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B-

As the anti-hero of Lydie Salvayre’s The Power of Flies, one of those narrators whose namelessness bespeaks facelessness, sits trial for homicide, he launches a series of passionate monologues — ranting to the judge and venting to his shrink, forever going on about his brittle boss, his disconnected wife, and his brutish father. Some readers will be put off by the dozens of distracting rhetorical half-twists this scheme involves — ”I’ll stop the self-mockery here, Your Honor” — while others will balk at the protagonist’s half-coherent pensées on the philosopher Blaise Pascal. Those hardy enough to soldier through will discover a tragicomedy with some charm to its tricky structure — an inside-out whodunit. B-

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