Three is the second book I’ve read after French author Valerie Perrin’s excellent book Fresh Water for Flowers. It was so good that I had high expectations from Three, but unfortunately, I couldn’t find what I was looking for. Despite this, Three was a novel that I followed with interest and admired how well it was written.
Three tells the story of the lives of three friends who met at school when they were only ten years old and stayed inseparable from the moment they met. Nina, Etienne and Adrien spend almost all their time together; No one can come between these three. From the moment they met in 1986, they planned everything together and lived everything together. But of course, everything changes over time.
Three moves forward by jumping in time, telling a past and a future. The reader reads thinking that they know Nina, Etienne and Adrien with almost every flaw and trait. However, after a while, the narrators start to get blurry. Towards the end of the novel, when I didn’t know who was telling the story anymore, with that enlightenment I suddenly had, I thought about what a genius Perrin was, but I did feel a little uncomfortable.
Three is one of those books that is pretty hard to talk about because one of its main features is such a huge spoiler that I feel like I’m going to ruin everything if I talk about it. So let me leave this big topic aside and tell you about the characters. For example, there is a teacher who troubled Adrien at their school when this trio was little; It is so beautifully written, so beautifully created that you see the man in all his reality before you. More or less, all of us have been exposed to teacher terror; I hope the teacher Perrin “inspired” to create this character is burning in hell too.
Despite the three main characters and dozens of side characters, Three is a plot-driven novel rather than a character-driven novel. Despite this, I must say that Perrin handled the characters well. Although I felt as if she didn’t know what to do with some of the characters, I can say that I liked all of them in general. It’s not literary great, but it has a slow-paced (and unfortunately sometimes too long), tangled, and intriguing story.
If you are going to meet Valerie Perrin for the first time, I recommend her book Fresh Water for Flowers. Three, on the other hand, I think it will be a nice choice after a novel that makes you tired, but you’ll be fine if you don’t read it. Don’t mind me saying that; I’ll read every book by Perrin that’ll be translated into English, and I’m even looking forward to the next one to be published. Enjoy!
A COMPULSIVE STORY ABOUT THE POWERS AND FLEETINGNESS OF FRIENDSHIP, LOVE AND LIFE – FROM THE AUTHOR OF FRESH WATER FOR FLOWERS
1986: Adrien, Etienne and Nina are 10 years old when they meet at school and become inseparable. They promise each other they will one day leave their provincial backwater, move to Paris, and never part.
2017: A car is pulled up from the bottom of the lake, a body inside. Virginie, a local journalist with an enigmatic past, follows the case. Step by step she reveals the extraordinary bonds that unite the three childhood friends. How is the car wreck connected to their story? Why did their friendship fall apart?
Valérie Perrin has an unerring gift for delving deep into life’s depths. Following the thread of a sequence of heart-wrenching, inescapable events over the span of three decades, she draws the reader into a compelling story of love and loss, hope and grief, and of the distance that comes with the passing of time.
A masterly crafted story full of suspense and unexpected plot twists.
Praise for Fresh Water for Flowers:
“A beautiful, intensely atmospheric bittersweet dream of a book.”―Matt Haig
“A funny and moving story of one woman’s belief that everything will turn out right.”―Stylist
“Melancholic and yet ebullient…What may on the surface of it appear gloomy and morose, in Perrin’s hands is an appealing indulgence in nature, food and drink, and, above all, friendships.”–The Guardian
Valérie Perrin is a photographer and screenwriter who works with Claude Lelouch. Her first novel, Les Oubliés du Dimanche, as won numerous prizes, including the 2016 Lire Élire and Poulet-Malassis prizes.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: