THE ALPHONE COURRIER AFFAIR by Marta Morazzoni

THE ALPHONE COURRIER AFFAIR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The voice of an omniscient narrator who sounds like a homily-spouting village gossip initially draws us into, then unwisely distances us from, the cryptic events of this compact tale of adultery and family enmity, set in the early 1900s in a provincial town in France’s Auvergne region (“a land of extinct volcanoes”). Morazzoni, the Italian author of Girl in a Turban (not reviewed) and The Invention of Truth (1993), is an accomplished miniaturist, and her deft portrayals of extroverted ironmonger Alphonse, his seemingly passive wife Agnès, and their neighbor Adèle Joffre (“the old maid nobody had wanted”), among others, slowly cohere into a potent melodrama—in its best moments reminiscent of François Mauriac’s unsparing dramatizations of passions held in check until they inevitably, catastrophically erupt. Mannered though it is, Morazzoni’s best book yet.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 1-86046-574-9
Page count: 168pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2000