Posted in Arabic, French, Literary Fiction

The Godmother by Hannelore Cayre

Publication Info: Published September 3, 2019 by Black, Inc. First published March 9, 2017 by Anne-Marie Métailié. I purchased and read the Kindle edition. Other editions available.

Summary: The Widow Patience Portefeaux is a middle aged French woman plodding along on the treadmill of life. She works as a poorly paid Arabic translator — first for the courts and then for the police. She struggles to pay for her mother’s Alzheimer care facility while keeping a shabby roof over her own head. Having grown up in a dysfunctional family on the fringes of society, Patience has great survival and coping skills, but much needed cash is in short supply.

Patience spends her days listening to, and then translating, transcripts of conversations between drug dealers, most of whom are complete idiots. They rant, rave and threaten each other, more interested in machismo than intelligent planning. When a more level-headed and business-minded family group of drug dealers crosses Patience’s desk, she starts to pay closer attention.

She discovers that she has an unexpected personal connection to one member of the family. This sets off ideas in her head that lead to her solving her cash-flow problem by becoming the Godmother of the local drug crime district.

Comments: This tightly written, darkly humorous and very clever novel crossed my path because it is this month’s book club selection for a discussion group I am joining. My description doesn’t begin to do justice to the wry observations and wit sprinkled throughout The Godmother. Stephanie Smee obviously did a fantastic job of translating from the original French.

Very highly recommended for readers of Literary Fiction.

My Rating: 5 STARS