Reading Le manuscrit inachevé by Franck Thilleiz, published in Italy by Fazi Editore, was an overwhelming experience! It has been a very long time since we read a thriller that involved us so much, literally keeping us glued to the pages. A truly ingenious book that certainly deserves an important space in this genre universe. Thanks to Fazi, we were lucky enough to get to know and interview the French writer in Rome at Più Libri Più Liberi Book Fair. It was a very interesting and enriching experience, he is a very good writer and a really kind person!
A story within the story
This novel is a game of mirrors, a story within the story, where the reader right from the beginning realises that the narrative structure is based in fact on a sequence of binary events, where the story at the highest level and the one at the lowest level are inexorably linked and where each character has a double reading. It is precisely this sort of matryoshka that leaves no escape, which attracts the reader in a dark and masterfully constructed whirlpool.
The whole story, as Thilliez mentioned, is based on two fundamental pillars: the characters and the settings in which the plot evolves. It is these two elements that according to the author “manage to bring the readers into the heart of the story, to engage their attention, to make them feel an integral part of the narrative flow”.
A visual writing
This is what happened to us, we were immediately hooked on the detailed descriptions of the protagonists, their way of feeling and seeing the world, their pain, their tears, their courage and around them the wind, the sand dunes, the sea, the fog, the mountains and the tides as a mirror of the characters’ feelings. Franck Thilliez’s writing is indeed very visual, on every page there is a new world to discover, made up of countless clues cleverly disseminated throughout the novel. It was Thilliez himself telling us how “his engineering studies help him with defined logical processes, paramount to structure his stories so that they make sense and are as realistic as possible.”
“Sometimes a strange phenomenon occurs when approaching the northern coastal cities in the middle of winter: in the blink of an eye, a fog guillotine crashes on the windshield and the impression is of being projected into a post-apocalyptic scenario, where at the windows of the car may appear scary monsters that can take you offshore into rough and glacial waters. “
The importance of memory
Memory plays a fundamental role in this novel. Memory is nothing more than a particular reflection of what has happened, a reflection which, however, is influenced by the person who remembers that can involuntarily distort an event. What are we without memory? Are we not (at least in part) what we experienced? Thilliez inserts two opposite situations in the plot of this book.
On the one hand we have a hypermnesic detective, who does not forget anything, not even small details, but who does not always manage to place his memories; on the other hand we have episodes of amnesia, where those who suffer from it do not remember anything, as if they wanted to erase the abyss of the horror they had experienced. It is also thanks to this continuous transition from a super active memory to a silent memory that the French writer manages to hook the reader, making him not only a passive viewer yet active part of the investigation, because when a thriller is written so well we immediately become all detectives!
Reading Le manuscrit inachevé
Reading Le manuscrit inachevé was an incredible, dark, intense and at times very morbid journey. This book is impeccable and relentless, a mise en abîme which contains art, literature, horror, pain, redemption and hope. The chapters are short, ending always with a twist. Thilliez’s writing is agile, clean and effective, the dialogues are credible and never decorative. Nothing seems too forced or completely improbable, but certainly the pages of this book are overflowing with pain and humanity. It was Thilliez who told us how “it is always important to identify with the characters of the novel that is being written.
The question must always be – what would I do if I were in the character’s place?” And in our opinion this process applied to the thriller genre is really effective, because it gives us a more real and less constructed experience. Reading this book is like climbing an impervious mountain full of pitfalls, when we think we have reached the summit we actually discover that we have to climb more, but when we finally reach the top we are stunned, as well as when we read the last page of Le manuscrit inachevé.
For this gerne lovers this is a thriller not to be missed and Franck Thilliez an author to discover.