Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Don't Let Go

When I first heard that "Ne lâche pas ma main", a French crime novel set in Reunion by Michel Bussi (France's third best-selling author), was going to be translated into English and released as "Don't Let Go" I thought 'great'. Then I read the French book and was very disappointed. 

English cover

The crime story itself is decent enough, but:

  • Bussi uses a lot of clichés about the island and has only a superficial knowledge of Reunion's social climate and realities gleaned from what I've gathered from one or two stays on the island;
  • Bussi uses some Creole but not always Reunion Creole (other people have said it's from the West Indies: Martinique or Guadeloupe);
  • Bussi's timings are completely off (e.g. time taken to drive from Saint Gilles to the volcano, or time needed to walk from the Plaine des Sables to Sainte-Rose). This is somewhat surprising given that the author is also a Professor of Geography!
I see from the Amazon reviews that the translator, Sam Taylor, also used a lot of translator's notes to explain things, which is never a good sign. 

French cover

Have you read it? What did you think?


Here's a video from 2013 of the author talking about the book (in French but subtitled in English):

A review at on 15 May 2017

A Death in Paradise - a review by Wendy Montrose on 29 June 2017 at Scoop Review of Books

A review at Mysteries in Paradise on 5 August 2017

Michel Bussi’s latest thriller is clever and nuanced - review by Margaret von Klemperer on 10 August 2017 in the South African Sunday Times

Michel Bussi’s ‘Don’t Let Go’ is a gripper - review by Ivinder Gill published on 13 August 2017 in The Financial Express.