THE OLIVE GROVE by Maria Kuncewicz


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This Polish writer's novel was sparked by an actual case in 1952, The Dominici Affair, the senseless murder of a prominent British family in the south of France. However this is only the point de depart and the crime itself is incidental to the story which rather dawdles and idles along, suffused by the visual effects of the countryside and its natives- more peasant shrewd and suspicious than pastoral sweet. Agnes and David go there with their young daughter, Pat, an imaginative, inventive ten year old for a summer of ""le camping"" near the old Abbey where David had been rescued by the Maquis during the war. The Abbey is now (fortuitously) the property of David's niece and nephew (whom he resents), dilettante-decadent who take an interest in Pat. Pierre and Mauricatte who had saved his life and then taken advantage of him (David had not known this) are also there; their guilt now makes them rather surly; Pat roams around-from the Abey- to school where she is the playmate of Pierre's son. And finally Pierre's father, for very little reason, commits the murders at the close.... A modestly interesting story, this has faintly sensuous glints and spiritual highlights, but all in all, it seems rather unrelated and unresolved.

Publisher: Walker