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the Complete Review
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Passion Fruit

Daniel Pennac

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To purchase Passion Fruit

Title: Passion Fruit
Author: Daniel Pennac
Genre: Novel
Written: 1999 (Eng. 2001)
Length: 181 pages
Original in: French
Availability: Passion Fruit - US
Passion Fruit - UK
Passion Fruit - Canada
Aux fruits de la passion - Canada
Aux fruits de la passion - France
Adel vernichtet - Deutschland
La passione secondo Thérèse - Italia
Los frutos de la pasión - España
  • French title: Aux fruits de la passion
  • Translated by Ian Monk

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Our Assessment:

B : light, breezy entertainment, with a decent twist

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
Berliner Zeitung . 13/1/2001 Brigitte Helbling
TLS . 24/8/2001 Brian Dillon
Die Welt A 16/9/2000 Jan Groh
Die Zeit . (43/2000) Ulrich Noller

  Review Consensus:

  Entertaining, even if it doesn't have quite the same heft as earlier Malaussène-tales

  From the Reviews:
  • "Adel vernichtet liefert zu den vier vorangegangenen Hauptwerken zwar eine eher schmalspurige Fortsetzung, aber selbst hier findet sich Raum für erbauliche Abschweifungen." - Brigitte Helbling, Berliner Zeitung

  • "Pennac's Paris has less to do with recognizable cultural coordinates than with the comic details of nomenclature (slang given a snappy English in Ian Monk's lively translation). (...) Passion Fruit verges on a magical realism defined not by miracles (though Therese's fortune-telling is a neat device in a genre predicated on prediction) but by a reality, and a genre, thrown only slightly off balance. (...) A crime novel that breaks off to discuss the relative merits of Kafka, Antelme, Defoe and Cioran is an odd, but oddly entertaining crime novel." - Brian Dillon, Times Literary Supplement

  • "Wer an (kongenial übersetztem) Wortwitz, selbstbewusstem Anarchismus und bunten Charakteren seine Freude hat, wird auf seine Kosten kommen." - Jan Groh, Die Welt

  • "Adel vernichtet ist nicht ganz so herausragend erzählt wie die Vorgängerwerke. Trotzdem wartet Pennac auch diesmal mit spannungsgeladenen Aufstiegen, abrupten Abfahrten, akrobatischen Loopings und unausdenkbaren Wendungen auf." - Ulrich Noller, Die Zeit

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:

       In Passion Fruit Benjamin Malaussène largely avoids his usual scapegoat-ordeal. But he has problems enough. The focus here is not on his professional life, which barely comes up, but again on his family, now that sister Thérèse has decided to get married.
       Romantic entanglements in the Malaussène household usually don't work out too well (except that they are almost invariably followed by the birth of yet another piece of passion fruit nine months later), so Thérèse's news is cause for some concern. It is a pretty peculiar family anyway, and Thérèse is among the flakier members. She sees the future, which keeps her busy and much in demand -- though it is a gift she is willing to forsake when she marries (she will lose it once she is no longer virginally pure).
       It is her husband-to-be that is the problem, of course. The Malaussènes are Belleville-folk: they are part of that colourful, diverse, and vibrant neighborhood. Thérèse's true love, on the other hand, is "Marie-Colbert de Roberval, a political animal raised on History". The x-th generation of his noble family to carry the name, a graduate of ENA, he and Thérèse are an unlikely match. But she loves him, and he wants to marry her .....
       Benjamin remains concerned. Something doesn't smell right. MC2 (as in "Marie-Colbert de(ux)") seems a bit too good to be true. He does all sorts of marvelous deeds, and seems to sincerely love Thérèse -- but he'd also rather the Malaussène tribe didn't come to the (televised) wedding.
       The two do get married, but that quickly turns into a disaster. Thérèse returns within days -- and MC2 turns up murdered. Thérèse is the prime suspect, and Benjamin has to figure out what actually happened.
       The twist and solution, revealing MC2's true character and ambition, are clever, and the road to their discovery the usual entertaining one. Pennac describes a colourful world, with colourful characters -- and Benjamin in the middle of it all, trying to straighten things out. Somehow, as usual, everything works out.
       Passion Fruit is a decent if unremarkable light entertainment -- "just one further episode in our family saga", as Benjamin says. Enjoyable enough.

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Passion Fruit: Reviews: Daniel Pennac: Other books by Daniel Pennac under review: Other books under review of interest:

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About the Author:

       French author Daniel Pennac was born in Casablanca in 1944.

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