Review | Waiting for Monsieur Bellivier

Wednesday, 2 May 2018


For those who are enamoured with Paris and love a bit of mystery, this one's for you. Books which are centred around the magical city or just France in general just automatically draw me in and every time I'm left with a longing to travel there. 

Waiting for Monsieur Belliver* interchanges between two main characters. Mancebo owns a grocery store and follows the same routine every day, not noticing what he is missing. His bubble is burst when he is approached by his neighbour, she suspects her husband is having an affair and wants him to take note of what he does. He takes his assignment seriously and in doing so discovers secrets about his family which shock him. Helena is a journalist and while at a cafe answers the question, Are you Waiting for Monsieur Bellivier? She is tasked with a mundane job for three weeks and eventually starts to question what she is doing and who is Monsieur Bellivier. She starts to get paranoid and encounters a man who has an interesting story.

The story is actually derived from an experience the author, Britta Rostlund had while in Paris. While sitting at a cafe and man approached her and asked 'Are you Waiting for Monsieur Belliver?'. He asked the question again when she replied no and she got the thought that it was a kind of code and what would have happened if she said yes. Mancebo's story is also inspired by real events with Rostlund going to a grocery store and buying a drink. The owner was sitting on a stool in front of the shop and returned to it after she purchased the drink and stared aimlessly over the boulevard. I find these facts very interesting and it's cool how authors can create a story out of briefly encountering another person or a situation. 

I enjoyed the story, the identity of Monsieur Belliver was kept secret until the end as well as how Mancebo & Helena's paths would cross. I have this bad habit of reading the last chapter so I had suspicions of who he was. I just get curious but end up being confused cause nothing makes sense. One thing I noticed was how the sentences didn't flow that well (I sound like such an academic), turns out it is actually translated from Swedish. It's still readable but I found myself stopping mid-sentence cause some parts just didn't make sense.  

3.5 stars

Have you read Waiting for Monsieur Belliver? What were your thoughts?

Ashley xx
*Review copy from Hachette NZ

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