Synopses & Reviews
When a process-server arrives at a housing project on the edge of Paris to draw up a routine inventory of goods in view of seizure, the reception he receives from distrainees Rose Melie and her teenage daughter Louisiane is more than he has bargained for. Rose, forever unhinged by the trauma of a childhood spent under Nazi occupation, mistakes him for a collaborationist thug and assails him with her alternately tragic and hilarious memories of Vichy France. Louisiane, for her part, treats the process-server to an exaggerated display of courtesy laced with precocious classical erudition and a stream of late-pubescent revelations. In a narrative that lurches giddily between 1942 and 1997, Lydie Salvayre picks at the sores of recent French history, impertinently exposing continuities of authoritarianism. In Some Useful Advice for Apprentice Process-Servers--a short piece also included in this book--the author grants the process-server a right of reply, which he uses to chilling effect.