If you're after a rattling good tale, this isn't it: innocent country girl takes city boy's flirtation seriously, he deserts her and her happiness is ruined. Nothing earthshaking; in fact, pretty trite. But what makes Martine something of a find is that author Jean-Jacques Bernard was an early (1920s) exponent of leaving the important things unsaid, a sort of godfather of the Pinter pause. His readiness to credit the audience with the ability to draw inferences is reflected faithfully in John Fowles (yes, that John Fowles)'s translation and a clutch of portrayals that neither overdo the silences nor try too hard to compensate for them.
Written for City Limits magazine.
Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.
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