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  • Reviews for Someone Else by Tonino Benacquista
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Reviews for Someone Else by Tonino Benacquista

'Seventeen pages in and Benacquista's perfectly judged opening chapter has set up a fascinating premise. Two strangers play a fiercely competitive tennis game, meeting after for a drink, each confesses in conversation an instance in their lives when, for a fleeting(and liberating) moment, they became 'someone else'. Perhaps a little drunk, they vow to make that condition more permanent, arranging to meet in three years time. That premise could be taken in any of a thousand directions. Perhaps coincidentally, Benacquista has written the screenplay for the film The Beat that my Heart Skipped which explores the related theme of the contradictions, extreme contradictions, which exist within one protagonist. Not really a crime novel in the accepted sense of the phrase (neither character commits a real crime) Benacquista nevertheless uses many of the crime novel's techniques. The suspense is driven by the structure of the alternating chapters, whilst the plotting delivers its share of delicious surprises. Exuberantly written (and exceptionally translated) Benaquista's book is another triumph for the genre-bending approach to crime fiction.'

- Tangled Web

'Is it possible to change a life that is congealing into middle-aged disappointment? Thierry is a picture framer who has always yearned to be a private detective. Nicolas is a timid corporate work horse who has never tasted alcohol. After a chance meeting at a tennis club, the two give ach other three years to step out of their boring lives and become someone else. This has been a big hit in France-and it's easy to see why-Thierry's attempts to slip into a story by Simenon and Nicolas's explosive encounter with vodka make for unexpected, cynical comedy.'

- The Times

'Benacquista writes with humor and verve, letting the plot flow naturally from moment to moment rather than making his characters slaves to the narrative. The haphazard, chance-inspired changes in Nicolas's life contrast beautifully (in alternating chapters) with the organized, purposeful metamorphosis of Thierry. Someone Else is less a mystery than a deftly constructed diptych of existential escapism: each story offers a unique map to new possibilities in the midst of suffocating lives.'

- Rain Taxi

'A great read from one of France's best crime writers. Two strangers meet at a Paris tennis club and fall into conversation at the bar. Both are moderately unhappy and dream up a challenge to each other to effectively become someone else. They will meet again in three years to the day to see if it worked. So the conservative picture framer becomes a private investigator and the shy executive sheds his inhibitions and gets a taste for alcohol and assertiveness. The tale that ensues is peppered with humour, unpredictable twists and a healthy dose of suspense. It all makes for a cracking read, with witty insights into the vagaries of human nature.'

- The Guardian
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