mystere

The latest addition to my website is François Mauriac‘s Le Mystère Frontenac (UK: The Frontenac Mystery; US: The Frontenacs). Unlike some of his other novels, where the family is seen as insidious and threatening, in this novel the family comes across as much more friendly, even if, at times, some of the individuals feel forced into certain actions because of the family. Indeed, the mystery of the title refers to the closeness of the family. The Frontenac family, widow Blanche, her five children and her late husband’s brother, generally stick together and even if Uncle Xavier has a guilty secret (which, though he is unaware of this, everyone knows) they do try and behave as a more or less normal family. Of course, there is pressure on the three boys (the girls are barely mentioned) to conform to a certain way of behaviour and two of them do, after their arms have been mildly twisted, with only Yves, the poet, straying somewhat. Mauriac is such a fine writer that this novel does work and it had considerable success in France and is still much read.