#Blogtour Real Life by Adeline Dieudonne #AdelineDieudonne @WorldEdBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #RealLife

 

Real Life by Adeline Dieudonne   World Editions February 4th 2020

A fierce and poetic debut on surviving the wilderness of family life

At home there are four bedrooms: one for her, one for her little brother Sam, one for her parents, and one for the carcasses. Her father is a big-game hunter, a powerful predator, and her mother is submissive to her violent husband’s demands. The young narrator spends the days with Sam, playing in the shells of cars dumped for scrap and listening out for the melody of the ice-cream truck, until a brutal accident shatters their world. The uncompromising pen of Adeline Dieudonné wields flashes of brilliance as she brings her characters to life in a world that is both dark and sensual. This breathtaking debut is a sharp and funny coming-of-age tale in which reality and fantasy collide.

My Review

I have to admit I wasn’t entirely sure about Real Life and almost decided against participating in the blogtour but I am so pleased I accepted.

First off let’s start with the cover, dark, brooding, a taste of what lay between its covers. On the inside the most wonderful character, our nameless narrator, ten years old when we first met her. Her brother Sam, four years younger, their closeness, almost like a protective force field that kept out the cruelty and violence contained within their house.

A domineering Father, the man of the house, a hunter, with a room of his stuffed kills, who ruled the house with his fists, his unerring temper. A mother, an amoeba as our narrator described her, who couldn’t show any love to her children yet lavished it on her beloved goats. It was almost as if she knew they couldn’t answer back, react violently, but relied 100% on her that made it so easy for her to love them above anything else.

It was a family that could implode on itself at anytime, the how and the when unknown. The story that Dieudonne created and built around this little girl was tender, heartbreaking, yet imbued with a steely strength, and resilience. As her brother, haunted by a tragic, almost comical event, withdrew from his sister, it was the belief she had that she could save him, could rid him of his demons that sustained you, and her, that made you believe she would survive.

The brutality of domestic violence, both physical and mental was one that Dieudonne did not shy away from. It’s impact brilliantly portrayed, the imagery of this large angry father that cast a dark shadow over the entire novel.

There were moments that were so emotional and tender, you wanted to cry whilst the authors description of another event just blew me away. She somehow managed to convey the fear of this young girl but also the strength and sheer determination of someone who wanted to defeat what lay before her.

The latter parts of the novel were heart stopping, the reader unsure until the end exactly what happened. I loved that we had an epilogue as I don’t think I could have coped without knowing the outcome for Dieudonne’s wonderful character.

I read this novel in one sitting, on a train journey and I don’t think I noticed much around me, so engrossed was I in the story. I was totally captivated by Dieudonne’s narrative, by her ability to create this young girl, to delve into her emotions and thoughts so brilliantly.

Yes, it was dark, uncompromising and not an easy read but it was a novel that literally took my breath away. Stunning.

I would like to thank New World Editions for a copy of Real Life to read and review and to Anne Cater if Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

 

Adeline Dieudonné is a Belgian author and lives in Brussels. Real Life, her debut novel, was published in France in Autumn 2018 and has since been awarded most of the major French literary prizes: the prestigious Prix du Roman FNAC, the Prix Rossel, the Prix Renaudot des Lycéens, the Prix Goncourt―Le Choix de la Belgique, the Prix des Étoiles du Parisien, the Prix Première Plume, and the Prix Filigrane, a French prize for a work of high literary quality with wide appeal. Dieudonné also performs as a stand-up comedian.

 

 

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