Narrated by an unnamed man, The Unforeseen gives us a good look at a most uncommon human. The man, who suffers from a perpetual cold, finds himself alone in a strange city. At the mercy of strangers from beginning to end, he starts going by the name “Serge”. Although he often blurts out an embarrassing detail or two about his current situation, he never really tells anyone about himself, despite the fact he’s been given every opportunity.
You see, this newfound “Serge” has no social skills. Zip. Zero. Zilch. And since every situation he finds himself in is a very social atmosphere, the reader is left dangling between sympathy and outright laughter. Our stiff and obsessive narrator never seems to see himself as lacking social skills – in fact, he appears to think he’s the sort that goes the extra mile in politeness and decorum. But social graces he has none. The reader can only guess at what are the true reactions of those he meets along his journey, as “Serge” seems a little confused as to what people are actually thinking.
The Unforeseen was originally written by Christian Oster in French, published first in 2006 as L’imprevu. Oster has published 12 novels in all, including My Big Apartment, winning him the Prix Médicis in 1999. He currently resides in Paris.
The novel was translated by Adriana Hunter who managed to keep the prose fluid, and the style is consistent throughout. The subtleties of the narrator’s ability to make others slightly uncomfortable were no doubt tricky to translate, yet they remain humorously intact.
If you would like to win a copy of The Unforeseen and perhaps brush up on how to embarrass yourself in public, I have a copy to give one winner. Enter before midnight, April 29, 2008.
3 Ways to Enter:
1.) Leave a comment telling me what interests you about the book. (Something more than “sounds good” is kindly suggested.) If you’d like, you can instead tell me something you did that embarrassed you in public, but this is just to make things more interesting, and besides I’m nosy.
2.) Subscribers are automatically entered into this and all future giveaways. Just enter your email address in the little white box on the upper part of the right hand column. (Please make sure to verify your Feedburner subscription by responding to the email they send you. If you don’t receive it, check your junk mail.)
3.) Blog about this giveaway on your blog with a link back.
Do all three, and you’ve got three entries to win!