Three to Kill Paperback – Feb 2 2007
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This book was surprisingly good, given the genre and the short page count. One could easily read this in a single sitting. The pacing is solid and static, and the plot is relatively probable for a crime fiction novel. A few moments of action, conducted by the main character, are somewhat over the top, but not unbearable.
Its clear Manchette wrote this novel after the Paris 68 left-wing uprisings. And, his analysis of society is tolerable Marxism. The main character, Georges, is a 'reformed' leftist, entirely defined by his career, and socio-economic position in society. As Manchette states, Georges actions are primarily defined by his relations within the social relations of production. Georges is clearly alienated, and living a perfunctory existence of the 'bourgeoisie' dream: high paying job, kids, a fattening wife, and constant after-work alcohol to wash back banal existence itself. Even compensated vacations cannot properly detox the demons of white collar existence.
After some rather gritty and lurid events take place, Georges is entirely displaced from the mode of production he once fought against, and experiences several chapters becoming the classic Marxist 'new man.' The revolution he fought for in 68 is experienced existentially over the course of a year in an ecological environment divorced from the ever growing urban environment he previously worked in. Of course individual reform and revolution is never enough, and Georges returns to resolve the nefarious matters that have sent him into hiding in the first place.
Without my going into any spoiler-esque detail, the book ends with a narrative reflection that given the right social relations of productions - and not pure individual initiative - Georges could have been anything from a true revolutionary fighter, to a feckless turd. Individual moments may send us catapulting in a direction we never could foresee, but the gears of capitalism keep on grinding, as white-noise, inevitably preventing the exercising of our, and Georges, full potential.