Not much beyond the punchline.

This is my review of Nouvelles a chute by Collectif.

All the short stories in this little book meet the requirement to have an unexpected or surprising ending, as promised by the title. I assume from the annotations to explain less familiar vocabulary and the questions at the end that this is designed for French school students who have to learn how to analyse a text. I feel a bit sorry for them as regards how this could destroy one's simple enjoyment of a story.

I imagine the book could be useful for "A Level" class discussion in England, and the stories went down quite well in my French group for British adults. The tales by various successful modern writers are on diverse themes, but tend to have in common the approach of developing a particular situation in depth, such as a man enjoying the habit of taking a girl out for a meal, or the plight of a small boy bullied by his playmates. They also share the trick of leading the reader into some kind of misconception, which is abruptly shattered at the end.

I cannot say more without introducing spoilers, but it is perhaps a limitation of these tales that, if you remove the "surprise factor" at the end, there is not much left to consider.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 Stars

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