The Panda Theory-Pascal Garnier

The Panda Theory
Pascal Garnier
Gallic Books, Feb 4 2014, $12.95
http://www.gallicbooks.com
ISBN 9781906040420

At the hotel Gabriel is staying at in the nondescript small Breton town, lonely Madeleine the receptionist suggests he eat at the Faro restaurant, the only place open on a Sunday. Faro’s Portuguese owner José tells him the restaurant is closed since his wife Marie is in the hospital and he has two despondent children to raise, but shares his food with Gabriel. Soon after that the visitor meets Marco and Rita, who are going through financially hard times.

Gabriel knows what it is like to have the warmth and love of family and how fleeting that happiness is since teens murdered his wife and children; he believes one must grasp joy when it is there but also accept the evanescence of today as life lacks purpose. Still Gabriel uplifts the spirits of the villagers as symbolized by the fluffy panda he places inside the Faro to welcome people. He knows the morning will return with dismalness in full force and his inner obsession still thriving in spite of his love for Madeleine.

The late Pascal Garnier provides a powerful character driven dark noir in which a sudden deadly act of violence ripped asunder the veneer of civilization. Orson Welles summarized Gabriel’s philosophy: “We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone.” Readers will enjoy traveling with Gabriel messenger of the short happiness endowed to the human spirit.

Harriet Klausner

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