Tuesday, 17 January 2012

"Belle Famille," - "Nice Family," by Arthur Dreyfus

Nice Family," - résumés of chapters 8,9, 10 and 11 from original in French by Frencheuropean.

Chapter 8

They arrive at the site of identical-looking chalets in a pine grove, with a swimming pool and close to the sea, but Laurence is disappointed because it's not as good as it looked on the web and she wonders what the Josserands, who are due to arrive tomorrow, are going to think. She consoles herself with the thought that, "as it's expensive, we won't be with the peasants." They decide to go to the swimming pool. Before leaving, because she cannot throw the scorpion key ring into the bin, she decides to place it on top of the highest kitchen cupboard.

Chapter 9

At the swimming pool, Madec, who is constantly in search of new experiences to spice up a dull life, dives under the water. While he is coming back up, his brothers hold his head under the water. Madec passes out.

Ron Murdoch, who was on a deck chair beside the pool, jumps in and brings out the unconscious child. Laurence, seeing the crowd, rushes over and gives her son emergency aid and succeeds in reviving him.

She gives her grateful thanks to Murdoch, who turns down her invitation to a meal. The brothers are not told off, but Madec gets a bit of spoiling: his bed is made up in front of the telly in the lounge and his food is brought to him.

The brothers apologize to him. He asks for his scorpion key ring, but Laurence is stubborn about it and comes up with the excuse for herself that the object could harbour bacteria. She explains to Madec, in an offhand way, that she has lost it. Furious, Madec does not believe her.

Chapter 10

Laurence recounts what has just happened, in an offhand way, to her husband, who has just returned, stressing the kindness of the Englishman. Their conclusion about the incident is that there was "more fear than danger." The Josserands arrive and their chalet is at the other end of the complex. Julien, tall and handsome, is an architect. His wife, Sylviane, envies Laurence her slender figure, but finds solace by telling herself that she has big bones. Laurence delights in learning that Julien has been unfaithful to Sylviane with his secretary, which consoles her a bit for having a husband with such a repulsive scar. The Josserands have a daughter called Mahud. The friends organise a get-together at 2 o'clock on the beach.

Chapter 11

On return from the beach, Laurence gets her oldest son, who is eleven years old, to read a book that contains scenes of violence, that is much too difficult for him. They have milk pudding, a traditional dish. Afterwards, Laurence adds, "...now you're going to bed because after being so busy with you all day, father and mother want to spend the evening with their friends." Stéphane goes to fetch the Josserands.

A short time later. Fabien arrives with his daughter Mahaut and brings as a gift for Madec, an old book, found in a second-hand shop, which tells the story of Kappa, a monster who hides in the water to drown kids. As such, he says, it will be a souvenir for Madec of his own drowning. There follows, told by Fabien, who likes a good laugh, a horrible tale of this aquatic monster, devourer of children with the most atrocious suffering. But to reassure a terrified Madec, Fabien reveals that only cucumbers, the Kappas' favourite food, takes them away from children. Laurence, who has put the other children to bed, puts out the light, and doesn't understand why Madec starts screaming and asks her to bring him some cucumbers.

A bit bothered, Fabien arranges with Laurence to meet at the restaurant.