“Norferville” by Franck Thilliez: a blood-curdling dive into the Far North

A murder, two investigators with a damaged past, a hostile nature. Franck Thilliez serves you a cocktail on the rocks for an open-air closed session. Welcome to Hell !

Renew yourself, twenty books. Quite a challenge! Franck Thilliez achieved it. Norferville is an icy and chilling thriller, behind closed doors at -20ºC, which takes place outside, around a city that is as lost as it is inhospitable. How to imprison your reader? By creating a devilish unity of place. Here we are immersed in the Far North. “ I worked a lot on the general atmosphere, the icy atmosphere. I based myself on a city model (Schefferville) and mining town that exist, just like the train that leads there. I documented myself extensively. But I wanted to maintain a certain freedom. Simply, many elements are real. The Innu reserve just like the history of the indigenous people (exploitation of their land, forced settlement then abandonment) and the resonance with violence against women. » Once, like the two main characters, we get off the train, we find ourselves trapped.

There’s Fargo in the air

When criminologist Teddy Schaffran learns that his daughter Morgane has been murdered in a mining town lost in the depths of Quebec’s far north, abandoned in the snow of an Innu reserve, he sets off headlong towards Norferville. Léonie Rock, a young mixed-race lieutenant in the Quebec police, is in charge of the investigation. Born there, raped when she was a teenager, she has no choice but to return to her trauma. As for Sergeant Liotta, a clad brute who enforces his law with an iron fist, he does not see the arrival of these two favorably.

I based myself on a model of a town (Schefferville) and a mining town that exist, as does the train that leads there.

A few years ago, I took a trip to Canada. I didn’t know when I would use what I saw, but I knew it was going to happen. As with the blizzard episode, when, chasing the murderer, the cops flatten a tire… It’s a writer’s fantasy. I had this idea in mind for a very long time, but I didn’t know when I could develop it. There, I had fun. I love this climate of anxiety that grabs you by the throat. »

A carefully crafted cover. The train that leads to Norferville, the blizzard… Hell is no longer far away.

Our opinion: 5/5

As for the idea of ​​a thriller with a social fiber, Franck Thilliez claims: “ It’s true that we flirt with the noir novel. Norferville is a thriller in which a murder serves as a pretext for an investigation which will shed light on social facts. » Another range of his talent which should delight his most loyal readers and attract others!

Ed. Black , 456 pages, €22.90.


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