“At Risk”: Teenage Vincent Almendros Diving Amidst Dark Sorrow

The one who says “I”, Quentin, 14, is waiting for his mother in the car, with his cousin Chloé sleeping in the back “head thrown back”. It has buttons, “little pinkish pouches with milky ends that give your face the look of an exotic fruit”.

Mother returns from buying flowers, “ritual from accident”. Father was killed while driving six years ago. Vincent Almendros immerses his reader in the torment of a young narrator who has just been kicked out of college for beating up a friend…

Two idle, sullen, taciturn teenagers

Chloé, with one foot in childhood and the other elsewhere, is in a Catholic high school. He still has his stuffed animal, a rabbit made of boiled wool. Her “The smell of the night, tears and drool must have calmed her down”, says Quentin, his stream of consciousness watering the prose. Chloe doesn’t really know what to do with her changing body.

Tensions rise at the grandparents’ weekend. The patriarch, suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, does not recognize them. The two teenagers, idle, sullen, silent, bored, wonder what to do: play in the cabin, which is now too small for them, swim in the pool, go on the swing, or go see the horses before the storm comes? And the wind that carries a “unhealthy sweetness”.

Precisely elliptical font

Is it their heavy presence that creates a noxious atmosphere? A dead sparrow is discovered on the gravel, p “Only two dark holes for eyes remain”. During lunch, a swarm of flying ants rains down on glasses, tablecloths and plates, an unusual sign of mid-May heat.

Parrot, “old beak everything.” grey” he taunts his perch with blows “You’re talking Charles”. As a bonus, a cat, a neighbor’s dog and grilled fish à la “black spotted skin”near the eye “turned strangely white”.

The tone is unique in a text full of perceptions reported in the strictest economy, through a precisely elliptical font. It is up to the reader to fill in the silence.

The revelation of a piece of truth about his father’s death eventually comes out and creates a kind of peace in the grief that is hard to bear. As they leave, Grandma gives Quentin his father’s Canadian sheep’s wool-lined jacket. “It should be your size now. » Actually it is.

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