Tarantula by Thierry Jonquet Review

English_language_cover_for_Tarantula_(translation_of_French_Mygale_(novel))Richard Lafargue is an eminent plastic surgeon haunted by dirty secrets. He has an operating theatre in the basement of his chateau and keeps his partner Eve imprisoned in her bedroom, a room he has equipped with an intercom and 300-watt speakers through which he bellows orders. Eve is only allowed out to be paraded at cocktail parties and on the last Sunday of each month, when the couple visit a young woman in a mental asylum. Following these outings, Lafargue humiliates Eve by forcing her to perform lewd sexual acts with strangers while he watches through a one-way mirror.

In alternating chapters, Jonquet introduces seemingly unrelated characters – a criminal on the run after murdering a policeman, and an abducted young man who finds himself chained naked in a dark chamber, forced to endure all manner of physical torture at the hands of a mysterious stranger, whom he calls Mygale, after a type of tropical spider. All of these characters are caught in a deceitful web, waiting to meet their fate.

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Silvana

I love my dark reads, I love them clever, to leave me guessing and at the end to be completely blown away by elements I didn’t foresee coming. Tarantula does that and more, what a clever short novel that packed a big punch, full of twists and turns. It sure left a big impact, the writing was skillful and engaging.

The main plot narrates the story of expert plastic surgeon, Richard Lafargue, a mysterious character who keeps a woman, Eve, captive in his home.  Richard uses Eve to perform for him with other men the lewdest acts and sometimes violent ones are committed against her,  while he watches from a one way mirror.  Lafargue keeps Eve locked up and seemingly is only satisfied when he sees her broken.  It’s revealed later on that he also has a daughter in a psychiatric hospital, whom he visits regularly;  with each visit, his pain at seeing her so unwell increases. Another subplot is of a thief and a murderer, whose path crosses later with Richard’s and Eve’s. Here’s where I will stop  talking about the plot.

I did guess one twist earlier on in the story, which added to my questions, What purpose does it serve. I kept reading, waiting for the end reveal and turning the page to reach the big climax.

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‘His suffering had to be appeased, and Eve existed solely for this purpose.’

Well this book was totally unexpected, original and very cleverly narrated. I loved the ending and for that I may seek professional help, I actually had an ‘awww’ moment, the ending while unexpected,  shouldn’t inspire an ‘awww’ moment.

I’m planning now to see the movie, glad I resisted doing so before reading this.

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