Browse by Genre
Browse by Content Type
Winners & Finalists
Pre-publication book reviews and features keeping readers and industry
influencers in the know since 1933.
Resources & Education
Services for Authors
Kirkus Pro Connect
Benjamin MalaussÃ©ne's official job title is Quality Controller, but since nobody could possibly control the quality of all...
by Daniel Pennac
RELEASE DATE: Oct. 15, 1998
Benjamin MalaussÃ©ne's official job title is Quality Controller, but since nobody could possibly control the quality of all the goods in his Parisian department store, his real vocation is to serve as a scapegoat who can absorb outraged customers' abuse in a manner so pathetically affecting that the customers withdraw their complaints. It looks as if Ben's met his match, though, in the latest round of outrages at the store: a series of bombings that claim the lives of a garage mechanic, a pair of smooching senior citizens, a rabid pro-life lecturer, a sanitary-equipment representative. Not only is Ben unable to mollify the shoppers who survived the blasts; he's become the number-one police suspect. After all, he was on the scene of every explosion (except for one witnessed by his half-sister ThÆ’rÃ©se on his day off); his half-brother Jeremy sets fire to his school with a similar explosive; even his dog seems mysteriously implicated. In a more straightforward telling, Ben's new lover, the ravishing shoplifter he insists on calling Aunt Julia, would help him unravel the mystery and clear himself, But that's not exactly what Pennac (Better Than Life, 1994) has in mind. The first of Ben's four adventures to be published in the US is very French and more than a little precious, with clownish Ben, like Jacques Tati's M. Hulot, a charmingly jittery guide to the mercantile postmodern.
Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1998
Page Count: 256
Publisher: "Harvill--dist. by Farrar, Straus & Giroux"
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1998
© Copyright 2023 Kirkus Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Hey there, book lover.
We’re glad you found a book that interests you!
We can’t wait for you to join Kirkus!
It’s free and takes less than 10 seconds!
Already have an account? Log in.
Trouble signing in?
Don’t fret. We’ll find you.
Magazine Subscribers (How to Find Your Reader Number)
If You’ve Purchased Author Services
Don’t have an account yet? Sign Up.