Customer Review

Reviewed in Australia on 6 October 2019
Hannelore Cayre is obviously something of an over-achiever: author, script writer, maker of short films and a practising criminal lawyer. This short quirky book takes us into the world of Patience, child of a Yiddish mother and a criminal French-Arabic father, who grew up by a motorway, largely reared by a kind black slave. When her husband dies suddenly, leaving her with two young daughters, she finds herself toiling as an Arabic translator for the French police for 25 years. Her life changes markedly when an enterprising young Moroccan who’s transporting best quality hash into France is scooped up. Warned, he dumps his cargo and who finds it before the police? Enterprising Patience, who in her fifties, becomes the Godmother, selling off her find to French Moroccan guys whose intellects cannot be described as sparkling. The main joy of this book is listening to Patience’s entirely pragmatic and completely unsentimental opinions of these and other humans and life in general. With her father dead and her mother in a nursing home that’s quite expensive, all Patience really wants is to provide for her mother, daughters and self without the slog. She provides quite an insight into internet-converted jihadis, French drug policy and policing, and through her landlady Mrs Fo (and the Moroccans), something of the immigrant experience, not to mention the typical awfulness of aged care. Reprising a childhood trip, she books into the Belvedere in Switzerland only to find it utterly changed and now run by Arabs. Nevertheless, she succeeds in laundering cash by buying eminently saleable goods. Back in Paris, her policeman boyfriend eventually gets wise but can’t prove anything. This is a thoroughly quirky, informative, often funny and entertaining book and the film version starring Isabelle Huppert will be something to look forward to.
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