Book 42 of 52: "The Guard", by Peter Terrin

Holy hell, what a strange book.

A little bit of background: “The Guard” was originally written in another language, but was translated to English.  It’s won prestigious prizes in Europe, and is supposed to be an “apocalyptic fable.”  I’m not sure that’s how I’d describe the book, but it’s certainly… weird.

And not always in a good way.
The premise is pretty simple.  There are two guards, Michel and Harry, assigned to guard the basement of a luxury apartment building.  They live where they work, and have almost no contact with the outside world.

As the story goes on, we find that something bad, something apocalyptic, may have happened outside.  Or has it?  Annoyingly, our narrator, Michel, is also slipping into insanity, and by the end of the book, it feels impossible to tell what’s real or fake.

I finished this book, stopped, stared up at the ceiling, and then turned to the internet to try and figure out what the hell the ending even meant.  Unfortunately, it seems that no one really knows.  There’s such great suspenseful buildup – and then the ending just fizzles out into incomprehensibility.  It didn’t take long to read, but I want my couple hours back!

Or at least an explanation!

Time to read: 2 hours, mostly wasted.  Also, this book has 180 chapters in 300 pages.  It’s strange.

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