992 pages - 16,95 $
I met Karine Giebel at the Quais du polar festival. I had already read and loved her book Juste une ombre, so I was really happy to talk to her (invite her at the QuébeCrime festival) and ask her to choose my next book! She asked if very noir stories don't scare me, I told her that I loved them, she replied that with Meurtres pour rédemption (or: Murder for redemption), I was going to be spoiled and autographed me: Vanessa, This dive into the bowels of French prisons... Regards.
Honestly, it took me some time to bring myself to read it, because, precisely, it's set in prison and I was afraid it'll annoy me (haha, but what a mistake on my part!) and also because Marianne's pastime is to listen to the trains (which is still super annoying right?) And then I threw myself in this doorstop (992 pages is no mean feat...)
But what a dive! But what a shock! Gérard Collard (a French well-know reviewer) said about this book "a shock as I have never had!" and I'm thinking: do tell Gerard, I think you've been a bit sutble on that, right? Because it felt more like it came as a bombshell! It's dark, very dark, there is not much room for hope, but it's taking, you on the edge of the chair, you can't, you doesn't want to leave Marianne - but what if something's going on in my absence? Ha, well it can't, it's a book! - You'll want more of it and you'll stress.
Marianne, one should hate her: she killed a senior for his money, it's ugly. Marianne, she is super guilty, no doubt, and in addition she's done it again. Marianne is also the damaged girl who mastered neither her strength nor her feelings or impulses. Yet Marianne, herself, doesn't want to be that bad and she's capable of great kindness, she's extreme like that. Marianne is a character complex, moving, captivating and well highlighted by the other characters, as well written as her.
The story is set in a lot of prisons, yes with an s, because she goes in many of them, this is what happens when you're a rebel like Marianne. And dammit! There's a lot going on in jail! Never a time out between the low blows, the fighting, friendship, love and hate, it's a microcosm that Karine Giebel details for us with a writing so powerful it prevents us from releasing the book. Result: 992 pages that pass surprisingly quickly in a mass of feelings we feel in turns. It's poignant, sad, desperate, but ends on a great philosophy touch and a heartbreaking fullness. Because Giebel doesn't content herself with writing a great book, she gives us a message, a reflection on freedom. The freedom to love, to travel, to live, but is one ever free even without prison bar? Marianne will eventually find her freedom and gives us a good lesson of life.
Marianne twenty years. Bars as the only horizon. Life for the killer.
Indomitable, uncontrollable Marianne stands against hatred, brutality and daily humiliations.
No hope to escape this hell, or only in a dream, thanks to drugs, to books, to roll train that carries the spirit beyond the gates. Thanks to the friendship and the passion that carry light in the heart of darkness.
However, one day, a door opens. A chance of freedom.
But the price is terrifying for Marianne who only aspires of redemption...
In a nutshell
You already know it: go read that hell of a book. It's dark, hard, nervous, not relaxing, but if we wanted to sleep we would read a Goncourt, right? This is a 5/5 for me!
Good to know : Her books are translated in Italian, Dutch, Russian et Spanish