Tried too hard to be a French "Lord of the Flies." I really couldn't get into this book. I tried several times, starting and reading several pages, then putting it down and starting up again. It's very tedious reading. The author goes back and forth in time to his own school days so you really don't know what's going on! Where are we? What time and place?
I have to be honest and say I was so close to writing the review about "not being able to get into it" but then I slyly got pulled into the story and the well-drawn (and well-mocked) characters, and started to enjoy Dufosse's droll commentary on just about everything, which at the beginning of the book seemed annoying to me.
I'd pin this one down as a noirish pyschological study into what really makes us do the basic things we do, especially in groups. It's a bit uncomfortable at times to read, just because the author is dead on with his darkly comic details of the human spirit.
This is in no way a happy book, but one I think reader will appreciate if they tend to like Knut Hamsun, Bukowski, or Denis Johnson. There are moments of brilliance in this book if you can acclimate yourself to his writing style. This is a like it or hate it book. I'd also recommend it to anyone with a sick sense of humor.