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  • Reviews for Framed by Tonino Benacquista
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Reviews for Framed by Tonino Benacquista

'On the surface this translation of a French Noir uses typical throwaway gimmicks like phone tips, but those actually serve as satirical devices that enhance this dark amusing crime caper by comparing felonies (including murder) to artistry. Antoine is a terrific protagonist whose obsession with billiards becomes a compassionate fixation to avenge all that he lost by being a loyal employee. Through his works the obscure Morand comes to life leading even deeper into the delightful comedic comparison between art and crime. HOLY SMOKE, Tonino Benacquista artistically paints a humorous winner.'

- Harriet Klausner

'Edgy, off-beat black comedy, often with an intellectual tinge, about people who don't quite fit in. Antoine, the narrator, is a talented billiards player whose delving into the art world has fatal consequences and unearths long-hidden scandals .'

- The Times
Pick of 2006 by Stella Duffy in the Independent on Sunday: 'It feels like a good translation, though I suspect it might be even better in the flesh, this thin book has stayed with me all year. Billiards and modern art collide as crime meets contemporary art. I quite enjoy spot-lit bricks but I liked this more.' - Independent on Sunday

'Screenwriter for the award-winning French crime movie The Beat That My Heart Skipped, Tonino Benacquista is also a wonderful observer of everyday life, petty evil and the ordinariness of crime. A Parisian picture-hanger with a passion for billiards loses his right hand in a scuffle when a thief tries to steal a painting from a gallery he is watching. His maverick investigation leads to the discovery of a much larger art fraud, and the death of a gallery owner who also has his right hand cut off. The pace never falters as personal grief collides with outrageous humour and a biting running commentary on the crooked world of modern art.'

- The Guardian

'Framed, the third novel in translation from French crime-writer and film writer Tonino Benacquista, fulfills the promise of his first novel, Holy Smoke, much more than the second novel. But Framed is very different from Holy Smoke (and from the Highsmith-y Someone Else, the second novel). Framed is not a series novel, but it is indeed noir fiction, in the tradition of, perhaps, David Goodis. Antoine keeps his day job, as an art handler in a contemporary art gallery, and his night passion, for billiards completely separate--his friend in one world know nothing of the other world. Unlike the choice that classic noir would surely have made, most of the novel focuses on the day world (dark though it indeed is) rather than the billiard hall. The choice is telling: Benacquista lets us know that he knows where his tale would traditionally be told, and indeed comes back to that world for his denoument; but he shifts the focus into a new realm, fully and realistically rendered (if quite cynically portrayed). Framed is a short and fast novel, a fun read, and highly recommended.'

- International Noir website

'Framed is very strongly recommended as thoroughly entertaining, darkly humorous, deliberately iconoclastic, and simply brilliantly from beginning to end.'

- Midwest Book review
'Modern art is a crime, in this French novel by the screenwriter The Beat that my Heart Skipped. Hero Antoine is a strangely blank canvas: a picture hanger in a top Parisian gallery, but with an overwhelming passion for the game of billiards, in which he sees all the beauty and meaning he misses in the art he displays. Then a clash with an art thief and a heavy statue severs his cue holding hand and breaks his heart, so he goes on the trail of the mysterious artists behind the work…the musings on the pretensions and gobbledegook of the contemporary art world are interesting and Adriana Hunter's sharp translation keeps the pace sharp.' - Scotland on Sunday
'Flip and frantic foray into the art galleries and billiard halls of modern Paris.' - Evening Standard
'Benacquista turns his satirical eye on the contemporary art world in his new black comedy Framed. His hapless hero, Antoine, is a picture hanger in a fashionable Paris art gallery, a job which provides him with the means to spend every evening indulging his passion, billiards. Until he loses his hand trying to stop a thief stealing a painting. The set pieces are splendidly done, and although they don't combine smoothly enough to make a truly satisfying mystery, it is an entertaining one, and shows Benacquista's originality and flair.'

- Sunday Telegraph
' "Billiards is apure universe: everything becomes possible…and simple. You never play the same shot twice in your whole life. Three spheres in a rectangle-and everything is contained within it." Told in the first person, the story winds through the dark and sometimes dusty corners of the art world, adding a couple more murders along the way. Antoine, angry, determined, single-minded, discovers in himself a certain natural artistic taste, exposed along with fashionable art's more ubiquitous posturing, chicanery, outright fraud, backbiting and conspiracies. Benacquista's knowledge of the art scene lends authenticity to this quirky, suspenseful, darkly humorous tale of a man who comes to terms with devastating adversity-on his own terms.' - Portsmouth Herald (N.H)

'Benacquista's almost poetic writing is fast paced and darkly humorous. He doesn't treat his characters kindly, as exemplified by Antoine's condition, but he does handle them realistically and with respect. If you've ever spent any amount of time in the art world, you know it is inhabited by talented madmen, a point the author plays on to full effect without ever really going over the top as so many other writers often do. The murder mystery is a genre that can sometimes get a little stale. It's fantastic to see a writer like Benacquista shake things up in a very positive way. If you've grown tired of the same old tales, pick up this book and have your faith restored.'

- Fearless.com
' "In my little hole today I reconfigured my moral right to revenge..." Framed is the last of Tonino Benacquista's quartet of thrillers featuring maverick hero, Antoine Andrieux. Employed to hang pictures in a trendy modern art gallery by day, Antoine indulges in his private passion, billiards, by night. When he interrupts a Burberry-clad intruder stealing a painting, he ends up crushed under a metalwork sculpture, and loses a hand. Enraged, he turns detective. He uncovers a fraud involving an obscure, pseudo-revolutionary 1960s art movement, and triggers two murders. And he is the prime suspect. In telling a cracking good story, Benacquista also pricks the pretentiousness of the Parisian art world. Co-scriptwriter with Jacques Audiard of Read My Lips and The Beat That My Heart Skipped, he is a master craftsman when it comes to plot and dialogue.' - Words without Borders

A black comedy set in Paris but reflects its author's boisterous Italian sensibility. The manic tale is told by an apprentice picture-hanger who encounters a thief in a fashionable art gallery and becomes so caught up in a case of art fraud that he himself 'touches up' a Kandinsky.

- New York Times

'The French, I'm glad to say, have never lost their love for 1930s style noir crime stories. This very Gallic, often darkly comic nightmare tells of a promising billiards player cum gallery picture hanger who after a grisly accident following a picture heist feels he has no option other than to track down the man who wrecked his life… here's also no logical reason for the hero not to hand the whole thing over to the police - but why should he? He wants revenge and we want a good story… but in the end I think we all get what we wanted.'

- Shots Magazine
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