The narrator of this novel begins by introducing himself not as a speaker but a listener, spellbound by his friend Caracala’s yarns, which blend accounts of youthful mischief with casual references to Cervantes and Laurence Sterne. At first, the spotlight is entirely on Caracala, but the narrator soon begins to distrust his friend, concluding that he is no more than a sham, a performer. Yet the reader in turn comes to doubt the narrator’s own pretensions to honesty, until every source of information has become so unreliable as to make the very notion of a “true story” seem like blatant propaganda.
“Paul Emond’s characters tirelessly disgorge their stories, which they invent as they tell them, indulging in whimsies of sequence and fantasy that make Emond a successor to Laurence Sterne in Tristram Shandy” – Le Soir
“The entire book comprises a single uninterrupted sentence, without paragraphs or chapters. This sentence is like the wild wind in the village chimneys, bearing everyone’s stories from house to house, blending them with malice and treachery, spreading laughter and anger, strife and flames…” – La Libre Belgique