Thursday, 13 June 2013

[REVIEW] Tarantula by Thierry Jonquet

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Recommended for: those who could appreciate a good disturbing mind fuqking - crime and psychological thriller genre.
Read on June 23, 2013 — I own a copy, read count: 1

Please try to refrain from looking at my shelf tags for this book. Unless of course you don't mind spoiling this book before you could get to it. You have been adequately warned.

Rating: 4.5 stars

What a twisted book with a twisted ending to match. I was left aghast and reeling with mixed emotion after finishing it.

Be ready for a dark and twisted story driven by hate and fear. It all started with a crime of lust and selfish indulgence which lead to the destruction of an innocent young girl. But was that enough reason to seek justice in the most vile manner? And how far should it go before it's too much that it destroys you too?

The story was set in France and centers around Richard Lafargue a prominent plastic surgeon and his disturbing relationship with a beautiful mysterious young woman named Eve, whom Lafargue had under lock and key literally. She would only be released from her gilded cage whenever Lafargue felt like parading her around his high society social circle.

Although Lafargue seems to dote on her at times, buying her gifts and taking her out to lavish dinning, he would also subject her to perform unspeakable sexual acts with multiple partners just to debase her and enjoy her sufferings. On the surface it looks like Eve was nothing more than a pet or a toy to Lafargue but the reasons behind it was far more devious than it appears to be.

Lafargue is quite a manipulative and malicious character. Highly intelligent and dangerously cunning. The mental tortures he subjected Eve to was both ingenious and effective in molding her body and soul to his will. It was chilling to see him in action sometimes. He kept me wondering what was truly on his mind? Has he gone mad as Eve perceived him to be or is his hatred really that all consuming? How far could one go driven by hatred? When will it be enough to quench his thirst for justification?

I could understand Eve's confused state of mind whenever it comes to Lafargue as he was never truly constant especially in the beginning of their relationship. He would hurt her at one time and dotes on her the next. When Eve tries to lean on his tenderness, she would be promptly slapped away only to be comforted again when she slips into depression.

In my humble opinion, the writing was beautiful and refine albeit chilling and disturbing at the same time. I shudder often thinking of all those irreversible physical and psychological scarring on the victim. To be so forcefully changed forever. How could one forgave another for causing such grievous harm on them for whatever justification at all?

I am in total agreement with Mizuki Genshou's review that this is a tale of suffering of the body and soul, domination and submission, hurt and comfort, love and hate. An intriguing twisted relationship between predator and prey, prisoner and jailer.

I especially like this remark by Mizuki on her review, "I found it to be very bold and imaginative, even kind of sexy in a twisted way." I ditto that wholeheartedly although I am too not sure I would or should be tagging this book under my BDSM shelf.

I have already mentioned right at the beginning of this review that the ending has taken me by surprise and left me amazed in a shocked way as it wasn't what I have expected to happen at all. A thousand questions flooded my mind at once. How I wish I could discuss it with someone, anyone, just to get it off my chest. What motivates her decision towards the end? Why? I have a few speculations myself. Ahh... how I love it when a book does that to me, making me think and delve deeper into the story even after it ends. I would love to encounter other books of similar nature. This one was such a rare gem.

Both the book and the movie adaptation was unique in itself and are equally good. Each has its own set of storyline with the movie preserving only part of the premise of this story. What I love in the movie was not found in the book and vice versa. If you still have to know which I prefer best, I'll go with the book because it is inevitably more detailed in nature.

This story isn't going to leave my mind anytime soon as it has etched itself deep into my psyche. It was such a page turner for me that I have finished it in a day! As a slow reader, this is a record for me.

This book should thrill most DMCers.

To those who must know if this book contains a HEA/HFN, click here -
I would say, it's a rather warped HFN with possibility of a twisted romance as I do not feel the effect of Stockholm Syndrome here. Unless, it's an act of redemption that spur that unexpected choice at the end.
(Only click if you MUST really know before you could even consider reading this book. So please don't blame me if you spoil it for yourself. Hehe)

Extra Info:

Translated from French by Donald Nicholson-Smith
Original Title: Mygale (Tarantula, was adopted for English translation)
Approximate Word Count: 35,000 words

Title of the film adaptation: The Skin I Live In (2011) / "La piel que habito" (French title) (Directed by Pedro Almodóvar)

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