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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction



The Absolute Perfection of Crime

by
Tanguy Viel


general information | review summaries | our review | links | about the author

To purchase The Absolute Perfection of Crime



Title: The Absolute Perfection of Crime
Author: Tanguy Viel
Genre: Novel
Written: 2001 (Eng. 2003)
Length: 121 pages
Original in: French
Availability: The Absolute Perfection of Crime - US
The Absolute Perfection of Crime - UK
The Absolute Perfection of Crime - Canada
L'absolue perfection du crime - Canada
L'absolue perfection du crime - France
Das absolut perfekte Verbrechen - Deutschland
  • French title: L'absolue perfection du crime
  • Translated by Linda Coverdale

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Our Assessment:

B- : decent noir idea, but execution leaves it less than riveting

See our review for fuller assessment.




Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
L'Express . 13/9/2001 Daniel Rondeau
FAZ . 13/5/2009 Anja Hirsch
L'Humanité . 27/9/2001 Jean-Claude Lebrun
NZZ . 21/4/2009 Franziska Meier


  From the Reviews:
  • "Das alles ist raffiniert, elegant und verführerisch gemacht und mit Pierre bleibt man immer einer Hauptfigur nah, die Zusammenhänge seiner Killerangestelltenseele nur ahnt, aber nie ganz versteht. (...) Wo Angst ist, wächst die Präzision. Tanguy Viel hat aus dieser Weisheit einen feinen Roman über Verrat und Rache gezaubert." - Anja Hirsch, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

  • "Tanguy Viel nous propose là une manière de tragédie en trois actes, dont les figures ont seulement perdu toute dimension héroïque. Dès l'entame il est clair en effet que l'on se situe dans l'ordre de la parodie." - Jean-Claude Lebrun, L'Humanité

  • "Für seine Figuren versandet das unbefriedigende, ja absurde und doch einzig denkbare «Leben im Zitat» im Nichts; für Tanguy Viel steigert sich das «Schreiben im Zitat» hingegen in schwindelerregende Höhen, auf die er uns – sowohl uns Kinogänger als auch uns Leser postmoderner Literatur – lustvoll mitnimmt." - Franziska Meier, Neue Zürcher Zeitung

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       The Absolute Perfection of Crime is a three-act noir novel. There's a brief prologue, an opening section in which the master-plan and the players are introduced, the middle section, in which the almost perfect crime is committed -- but doesn't pan out quite as planned --, and a final section, seven years later, when everything has to be neatly (or, in this case: messily) tied up. It has all the elements of a solid noir novel: the dark characters, a perfect crime (a casino hold-up), death, betrayal, and revenge. But the elements aren't quite enough. The Absolute Perfection of Crime is a short but not a quick read, the presentation uneven, the tone almost never captivating.
       The story begins with a brief scene in which one member of a loosely organised crime brotherhood, Marin, gets out of prison after three years. The narrator's excuse for never having visited him is: "It's just that guys like you, I answered, it doesn't feel right to see them in stir", but it seems just as clear that he wouldn't have minded never having seen his buddy again. But once Marin is back he reasserts himself as a leader of sorts -- and he convinces the others to go along with a great coup he has planned: the absolute perfection of crime, as the so-called Uncle describes it. (Tellingly , however, Uncle can't go along with it.)
       The plan isn't a bad one, and the best part of the novel describes the crime. Early in the re-telling of events, however, the narrator switches from a description of what happened to a description of a re-creation of the events, and it's clear that something went very, very wrong.
       The crime didn't work out as planned -- not entirely, anyway. Certainly not for the narrator. It's a quick jump then from how things end after the heist to the last section of the book, seven years later.
       Revenge must be had, damn the consequences. Viel does do a nice job of offering symmetry in the book: clues, comments, tics from early on resurface in the end, and things happen as they must. But the novel is simply not as compelling as it could or should have been. Clever, for the most part, but it rarely manages to strike the proper tone, And the exposition isn't focussed enough -- straying, in part, and elsewhere missing the mark entirely.
       A passable noir, but nowhere near any absolute perfection.

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Links:

The Absolute Perfection of Crime: Reviews: Other books by Tanguy Viel under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       French author Tanguy Viel was born in 1973.

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© 2003-2009 the complete review

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