Fiction Review: Out of Sorts by Aurélie Valognes


TITLE & AUTHOR: Out of Sorts by Aurélie Valognes
PUBLISHER: AmazonCrossing
RELEASE DATE: 1 January 2016
PAGES: 210





I got this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Ferdinand Brun hasn’t always been a grumpy old man. Many years ago, he was a grumpy young man. Now he’d much rather spend time with his canine companion, Daisy, than any of his nosy neighbours. But as his behaviour becomes increasingly peculiar, his daughter grows concerned and begins to consider moving him into a retirement home.

In order to maintain his freedom, Ferdinand must submit to an apartment inspection by his long-time enemy, the iron-fisted concierge, Mrs. Suarez. Unfortunately, he’s never tidied up a day in his life. His neighbours, precocious ten-year-old Juliette and vivacious ninety-two-year-old Beatrice, come to the rescue. And once he lets these two into his life, things will never be the same. After an eighty-three-year reign of grouchiness, Ferdinand may finally learn that it’s never too late to start living.


 Slumped on his suitcase, Ferdinand Brun, age eighty-three, helplessly surveys his apartment, which he is leaving forever. He who hates moving. Who hates communal living. Who hates people. How did it come to this?


Out of Sorts didn’t impress me. I liked the idea behind it and judging from the blurb I thought Ferdinand was going to be a bit like Victor Meldrew from One Foot in the Grave – grumpy but endearing and sort of lovable. Ferdinand is nothing like this. There are times when he seems to be just a curmudgeon whose set in ways but something much darker is revealed. He starts to come across a quite an unpleasant sociopath.  He has a narcissistic personality, is petty, mean-tempered and horribly selfish. He’s just an awful person with no redeeming qualities. I was quite disturbed when he’s considering hurting someone he just doesn’t like and contemplates murdering her, hurting her husband and killing her dog but decides not to as this will lead him to prison. Seriously? The possibility of jail time is the only deterrent here? I’ve read a lot of reviews praising the book and calling it funny and heart-warming. I’d say the opposite is true. I just couldn’t get on with Ferdinand and the ‘plot’ is nothing much to get excited about.





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