LOSING EUGENIO by Geneviève Brisac


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This 1996 novel, which won France's prestigious Prix Femina, is a rigorously understated picture of an impoverished single mother, Nouk, who sacrifices her own artistic sensibility and skills to the raising of her young son, the eponymous Eugenio. Virtually nothing happens, in a calculatedly slack narrative that takes place during Christmas holidays, when Nouk (rather like the hero of the recent film Life is Beautiful) creates for the ingenuous Eugenio a fantasy of prosperity and benevolence very much at odds with the reality of their lives. Nouk is a well-realized character whose resentment against Eugenio's vagrant father and hunger for a more fulfilling life come through strongly. But Brisac's tale is so relentlessly morose and claustrophobic that it's hard to work up significant empathy even for characters as obviously decent and deserving as these.

Pub Date: May 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-7145-3049-2
Page count: 157pp
Publisher: Marion Boyars
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2000