To Leave With the Reindeer
by Olivia Rosenthal
translated from French by Sophie Lewis
I quite like books that are strange and hard to categorise, but I found this a little too weird, or at least too minimal in actual story. It’s certainly ambitious and I’m sure will have its fans.
A second-person narrative describes a woman from early childhood, trying to break free from her mother’s stronghold. One winter she fantasises that after Christmas she will leave with the reindeer, to wherever it is that they go after they have assisted Santa with his work. She desperately wants a pet, a wish that is never fulfilled. When she grows older this becomes a desire to work with animals. Her romantic relationships flounder until she figures out how to complete her separation from her mother.