A review by coolchick_cesc
Paul by Daisy Lafarge

dark emotional reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


Frances, a young uni graduate, flees her lecturer-turned-lover in Paris by working at a HelpX kind of situation in rural France. There she meets Paul, a worldly and gregarious middle-aged bohemian type. From there, she is sucked into a relationship with this man, about whom she hardly knows her opinion. Of course, she doesn’t have a father. 

Frances is vulnerable, depressed, and lacking agency, which is further impeded by the control these men have over her life. I think this book is so well crafted that it makes Paul’s gaslighting, patronising, and predatory behaviour so subtle and insidious. It feels to me a true reflection of toxic relationships such as this. Lafarge has expertly crafted a protagonist who lacks impetus and is overflowing with self doubt. I felt so awful for this character who is unable to stand up for herself and feels silenced by the men in her life, who take what they want without really care about her at all. 

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