Grey Souls


Grey Souls - Philippe Claudel

Grey Souls was another bookclub read from a meeting that unfortunately could not take place due to the COVID-19 social distancing we are currently in. This was not a book I would have picked myself, and although I once read Monsieur Linh and His Child I did not remember much about it (I looked up my review and apparently, I liked it at the time).

Grey Souls is set during and after the First World War in a French village that is close to the fighting but not actually involved. Certain events take place during this time, that influence the main character as he looks back at the last twenty years. It starts with a little girl found murdered, but solving the case is hardly the main topic of the book.

For me, Grey Souls fit perfectly in the same tradition of Flemish literature, where in a small village many events are brought up over a period of time, and the reader is left to some extent to wonder, what is the meaning of this. What is the goal of this book? What is the main story. Grey Souls was very much like this, and while I do not dislike the style, I am often left with a feeling that there could have been a bit more in the story. (At some point in the book, the murdered girl had not been mentioned for so long that I started to question whether a girl was murdered in this book – a problem arising with me reading multiple book at once all the time). The writing was nice, but I fear the book all together will be forgotten soon.

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