Archive for February 6, 2011

Hostage of parental love

February 6, 2011 20 comments

L’otage du triangle d’or, by Gérard de Villiers. (252 pages) This book hasn’t been translated into English. The title means “The Hostage of the Golden Triangle”

In the hall of our local library stands a basket where readers can drop their books and other people can take them home for free. A couple of weeks ago, my daughter picked up L’Otage du triangle d’or by Gérard de Villiers, while she was at the library with the nanny. I thought she had chosen it because of the cover, but no, the choice was even more thoughtful. She explained to me that she knew I wouldn’t like the cover but she chose it anyway because I enjoy reading crime fiction. She had read a few pages, thought it was very descriptive and that I would like it.


Face to face with such a love as only children can give, I had no other solution as to read the book, which turned out to be, as expected, a painful experience. It brought me back to school days, when I had to read books I found boring. I have vivid memories of me, lying on my bed at my parents’ and urging myself “come on, only 50 pages left. You HAVE to read this for tomorrow”. I started reading a few pages only to discover that my mind had gone wandering far away from the book and that I couldn’t remember what I had just read.


But, back to the glorious Gérard de Villiers. He is a prolix author of hundreds of books of a series named SAS. Thankfully for Anglophone readers, his books haven’t been translated in English. When I type his name in the search engine of my online French bookstore, there are 420 results. All crime fiction, I don’t know which genre, the one with spies, CIA, DEA, drug dealers and nasty dictators.


The plot is the following: In Thailand, the CIA agent Matt Gritt is kidnapped by Khun Sa. The local CIA officer, Mike Herald is informed that Matt Gritt will be liberated if a drug dealer kept by the DEA in a drug traffic investigation is freed too. The drug dealer made a prosecution deal and is to be extradited to the USA. Malko Linge, who seem to be the recurring character of the series, is called upon by the CIA to clear this mess.


It’s like an indigestible lasagne dish: one layer of violence, one layer of sex, one layer of violence, etc. It is full of wicked Chinese and oriental torture methods, like cut fingers. Women are only objects, bought, used as sex toys. The male characters are caricatures. A book aimed at pleasing lobotomised male readers. I hope my daughter didn’t browse through page 43 where the first blow job is meticulously described.


The language is terrible, full of English words and American expressions with footnotes for the translation (!!) I thought the French dictionary included enough words and insults to satisfy such a silly writer, but apparently not. So, here are little excerpts of Villiers’s fine “Frenglish” prose:


“Ces types sont la crème du Crime Organisé à Bangkok. A bunch of fucking rats.”

“Matt Grit est un des meilleurs assets de la Company.”

“Tiger Trap va faire beaucoup de mal aux bad boys

“En tout, il en a plus de soixante. Outstanding!

If someone is interested in the translation, feel free to ask in the comments. I spare you the footnotes to translate the English words.


I told my daughter she couldn’t have known I wouldn’t like it and that it was sweet of her to give books to me. I explained to her that sometimes we don’t like the book we read, that we can’t know it before. (Half lie, I know…) I think she understood. Lying to her was out of the question anyway. At least, this has been an opportunity to talk about books with her.


PS: Do I have to mention that I DON’T RECOMMEND this book, unless you have to make a gift to your worst enemy?

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